Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well!
Well the 2018 Winter Olympics has come to an end and we wait patiently for the 2018 Winter Paralympics to begin. What an exciting time! I just love the Olympics: the competition, the emotional roller coaster of each event, the National unity of its people, but most of all I love the outstanding ability of all the athletes and their dedication to their sport and team. These athletes are the best of the best!
As I reflect upon the events of these past few days, I can’t help but think that we are all in our own race. Let’s top up our coffees and I’ll share my thoughts…
Olympics: Best of the Best
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 9:24-25
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing. 2 Timothy 4:7-8
And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:1-3
As I listened to the background stories of the different athletes and watched the races and games unfold, I couldn’t help but be in awe of all the athletes, whether Canadian or not, whether medalist or not. I found myself in tears of joy for other countries’ athletes at the completion of a routine where they succeeded at flawlessly executing a move that had stretched them outside of their comfort zone and ability, and where they too were brought to tears of joy and accomplishment for doing so. Whether they placed on the podium or not, that was a personal best for them, and I felt myself rejoicing with them.
To become an athlete of this caliber, there is sacrifice, self-discipline, dedication, hours of training, and a support system that encourages him/her on the days where defeat is felt. There is failure and practice and practice and more practice, until success is attained. The depth of this degree of ability is not something they are born with, but it is the focus of their days and the purpose behind all that they do in preparation for being the best that they can be and hopefully one day attaining a medal.
In faith, we are all in our own race. We are headed towards a finish line where we too will win a prize, the prize of eternity, a prize that has been won for us. For you see, Jesus was the only one who ran this race perfectly, he executed his routine flawlessly despite others falling all around him while even others tried to run him off course. He stayed focus on the finish line; a finish line not where he attained the prize, but a finish line where he attained our prize. And because of all he has done, a torch has been lit within us, a passion and love for serving our Lord, with a finish line in Eternity.
We are running a race, dancing a routine, skiing a course where we need to stay focused on the finish line. Where each day we are racing against the devil, the world, and even our sinful selves. We are beaten down by tiredness, temptation, and apathy. But throw all these things aside. Focus your eyes on the goal of winning the race. Let your participation in this pairs event be your personal best, for you have the one on your team who is the best of the best. An athlete does not say, “I do not have to practice or strive or keep myself in great condition because my team mate will win it for me.” No, this athlete trains even harder and is more disciplined to be the best he/she can be in order not to let his/her partner down. They work together, help each other get better, and they win together. In the same way, run your race with your eyes constantly on the prize of eternity, with the constant help of your partner, Jesus. Study his technique book and put into practice all it says. Try and try again. Do not give up. You’ve got this! You can do it!
Prayer: Dear Lord, please forgive my apathy and laziness towards serving you and running this race of faith. There are so many things of this world that pull me away, and I so easily give in to them. Forgive me. Please help me stay focussed on you, the author and perfecter of my faith. You have prepared good works in advance for me to do, help me to prepare my body, and mind to be open and able to full-fill them to my personal best. Guide me in my day, and strengthen me to stand firm and strong in your truth. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN!
Reflection: Reflect on an Olympic event. Which one would you choose to be your sport? If it is a team sport, envision Jesus as your captain. Who else in your life would be your teams members; who works with and supports you in your life of faith? Let these people know they are on your team and competing in a race of a lifetime.
If you compete alone, envision Jesus as your coach; guiding, coaching, working and rejoicing with you each step of the way. He’s yelling your name down the course, “You can do it, (insert name)! You can do it! I know you can! I’ve got the prize waiting for you!”