The greatest moments in the life of an Olympic athlete are spent on the
winners’ podium. This is the ultimate. The world is watching, the lights
are focussed, the familiar national anthem is booming out its message of
triumphant patriotism. A thrill runs up the spine. It feels like a coronation.
Words can’t describe the joy of basking in the glory. Just awesome.
No doubt the gold medal holds the greatest power generating such an experience
as this. Silver and bronze have their place of honour too. Whatever the medal,
we can fairly confidently say in at least most cases that the accolades are
deserved. The competitor has worked extremely hard. Self-denial and sacrifice
have paved the way to the world event, and application and total dedication
have climaxed in joyful success. We can only congratulate the victors, with,
of course, some sympathies for those who didn’t make it.
A closer look
While we must not be
mean in our acknowledgement of achievements like this, it is necessary to
weigh the glory to see what it is all worth in the long run. How many times
have we heard of past champions who now are living disillusioned lives,
subject to depression or in some other way revealing a lack of fulfillment?
All too often.
Perhaps it tells us that the glory is not all that it is supposed to be. It
is a transient thing, leaving a medal looking a bit tarnished and
insignificant in the light of other life issues.
A comparison from the past
the Olympic Games have an ancient record. They began in 776BC, continuing to
394AD. The modern games started in 1896.Paul, writing in the New Testament,
commented: “Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict
training. They do it to get a crown of laurel that will not last; but we do it
to get a crown that will last forever” (1 Corinthians chapter 9, verse
He is reminding Christians that they are in a race which culminates in a
crown of glory that never fades. No, they are not striving to be eternally
saved. That’s already settled. Nor are they competing with each other.
They are endeavouring to live and serve in this life in such a way as will
lead to sharing the glory of God Himself. What a prospect!
Many people have not entered that event. They are contenting themselves with
all that is passing and temporary. A huge gap exists between man-made glory
and the glory of God. So we are confronted with a choice, whether we ever
compete in a sport or not. Travelling through this world makes choosing
You cannot win without Christ. You must lose without Him.