I loved watching the Olympics. The skill involved, the excitement of a race, the patriotism...I love it all. My favorite is the medal ceremony- when an athlete stands proudly on a stand, singing his or her country’s anthem as the flag is raised, experiencing the reward for years of hard work.
I was thinking about the life an Olympic athlete leads. To be the best in the world the athlete must spend hours each day perfecting their skill. Their diet, their habits, even where they live is all influenced by their sport. And they do it for a race that may last less than a minute, for the chance to stand on a podium for a few more minutes. And in four years it is likely that they will be replaced by someone who broke their record. Why do they do it? Well as someone who hates working out, I really have no clue as to why they would!
I then began to think about why most people do not pursue their goals with such dedication. Even further, shouldn’t Christians pursue their calling with even more determined commitment because their end goal was infinitely more rewarding? But then I remembered that someone else also had that thought and already taught that lesson…
I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings. Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.
1 Corinthians 9:23-25
Okay, so Paul beat me to this bright idea. He was probably even referring to the types of races the original Olympics grew from in Greece. Anyway...
Do, I follow God with such dedication that everything I do is in response to my race? Do I run hard, all the way through the line, every time? Am I ever satisfied with anything less than gold? The answer is a sad “no”.
There is not a successful Olympic athlete who does not commit whole heartedly to their training. Sure, some have the right physique for their sport and have natural ability, but they also must work extremely hard. Well, God has given me everything I need to be “a natural” at my task and fully equipped me with everything I could need for the race. The prize is mine to run after.
And can you imagine that medal ceremony?