Aug. 18, 2016

Olympics Fever!

The Fastest Man on Earth – Usain Bolt!

As our Pastor, Tara Beth Leach, said last Sunday, “I’ve got Olympics Fever!” I’ve got it, too, I’m afraid, as I find myself tuning to Channel 4 to see what Simone Biles has done now to get another gold medal, or what records Michael Phelps and Katie Ledecky have broken. The Chinese women divers astonish us with their perfect precision and Sarah Robles lifting hundreds of pounds was unbelievable. Watching Usain Bolt, the fastest man on earth for twelve years running was awesome, winning the 100 meter dash in three consecutive Olympic games. As one of the TV guys put it, ten seconds to win, 30 minutes to celebrate, circuiting the track, leading his own cheers of BOLT! BOLT! BOLT! These people live in another world from the rest of us.

I happened to be sitting down with my Bible a few days ago – and for any of you who might remember my Procrastination blog a few months ago – I’m doing it, friends and neighbors, keeping up to date with my daily reading! Anyway, sitting down, I was in 1 Corinthians where Paul is talking about being an athlete:

“Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.” 1 Cor. 9:24-27 NLT

Watching the Olympics, this really became a reality for me. Only one person wins the gold, silver or bronze and it’s not that hard to be disqualified. Seeing a couple of runners engage in a false start, which got them immediately disqualified from the Games was tough to watch. All their hopes and dreams, all their hard work, for naught.

Paul winds up 1 Corinthians 15 by saying:

“So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.”1 Cor. 15:58

Which kind of gets us back to 1 Corinthians 13:

“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance....three things will last forever – faith, hope and love – and the greatest of these is love.”

This is training, too, maybe even harder than a million laps or falls from the balance beam.