I don’t know why it is, but whenever the Olympics roll around, I am absolutely glued to the television. Sports events I would never ever consider watching at any other time, I suddenly show rapt fascination with. For instance, I spent nearly two hours watching the dressage component of the equestrian events…I don’t even like horses!
Of course my loudest cheers are for my fellow Canadian countrymen (and women). Yes, it’s true, Canadians are equally proud of bronze medal winners than Gold Medal winners…I suppose since we’ve won way more of those than Gold. But, my oh my, when we step on the Gold or Silver podiums, we Canadians go nuts! Have to admit, national pride is at its pinnacle during the Olympic Games.
What has captivated my attention just as much during these Olympic Games in London is the coverage too of those Olympians who did not stand a chance of getting on the medal podium but made their mark in the Olympic events. Saudi Arabia’s Wojdan Ali Seraj Abdulrahim Shahrkhani lost her Judo match but made history just showing up to compete. Never before has there been a woman competing for that nation, since athletics are not open to women in that country. I applaud her efforts!
I was also moved to tears to see our Canadian Paula Findlay as she crossed last in the triathlon. The weight of Canada’s expectations on her shoulders too much for her as she battled an injury that would have sidelined any other athlete, but she fought through the pain to finish. In my opinion, Paula did not need to apologize, she did Canada proud just showing up!
One cannot but see the Olympics as a perfect example of what the Christian life is all about. It’s not about winning the Gold but running the race with endurance and tenacity. When everything around you is falling apart, when the finish line is so very far away, when the daily struggle seems almost too much to cope with, the Christian is exhorted to continue to run the race to attain something much more valuable than a medal. We strive for the crown that is handed out at the very end of our life race; sometimes when everyone else has crossed the finish line ahead of you and you feel like giving up, but you press on anyway, knowing that it’s about finishing well, NOT finishing first.
The Christian life in Scripture is likened to a race. The author writes, “Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” Hebrews 12:1-4
Paul says in 1 Corinthians 9:24 “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win.” Is Paul talking about running so you cross the finish line first? Not at all! We strive to run the race set before us, the best way we know how, and to our very best ability. We applaud every effort, whether we have finished first or finished last because at the end of the race we are hopeful we have persevered to earn the crown and congratulatory remarks from our heavenly Father that indicates a life well-lived. Our race is well run when He pats us on our backs and says: “Well done, good and faithful servant!” Matt. 25:23