observing the winning exchange between Nikki Hamblin & Abbey D’Agostino in the 500m qualifying race
The Olympics this year have been very incredible in many different ways. As I’ve thought about some of stand-out moments & athletes, I asked myself the questions, “In what way would I want to be an Olympian & not just in an athletic context? How could I be an olympian person in a spiritual context?” As I thought about these questions, I remembered the story of Perpetua, a third century martyr, who died as she said, “stand fast in the faith and love one another.” I applaud the athletic achievements that have marked the Olympics this year, but may our love for Jesus and others be every bit as olympian, with the help of the Holy Spirit!
I’m a very competitive person and that can be really bad. For example, I used to play in our church’s an annual flag football tournament. After a few years, I decided to remove myself from playing because I couldn’t find a way to compete with a friendly demeanor. So when Paul says in 1 Cor 9:24, “. . . , run in such as way as to win the prize, ” I would use this phrase to justify my poor behavior. Of course I took the verse out of context and this verse can often be misappropriated & rationalized to accommodate personal success rather than transformed redemption. But as followers of Jesus, winning the prize doesn’t align with the world’s definition of victory & success. Indeed, consider the recent Olympic illustration of “winning the prize”: running to win
Let’s enedeavor to be successful by the definition of following Jesus rather than letting our flesh or the world define success for us!
I always enjoy watching the Olympics because it’s the culmination of gargantuan effort, committment, focus and training for the best results possible. As such, it amazes me to see these competitions & it rips my guts out when I see one of the competitors fall, crash, miss a jump or mess up. I know that they didn’t get to the place where they are in the Olympics without having numerous falls, errors, mistakes & flaws. In my thinking, what is extremely noble about each of these athletes is that they don’t quit. Reminds me of Paul in Galatians 6:9 – don’t get weary in doing well for we will reap a harvest in due season. Let’s be olympic in our endurance! 🙂