The Olympics in Rio are over and they have fought the good fight; they have finished their course. Don’t know about you but I enjoy watching the Olympics. Given the chance I will watch sports in the Olympics I wouldn’t spend time on if they were a part of any other competition. Badminton. Trampoline. Sailing. Okay, just kidding about the sailing, I love sailing. But those other sports, not so much.
What is it that is so fascinating about watching the Olympics? For me it’s so many things. It’s watching Usain Bolt run with obvious joy and pleasure being in the moment. I loved watching him actually slow down and let a competitor catch him in a heat he did not need to win just so they could smile so broadly at one another as they crossed the finish line. I loved watching Simone Biles tumble through the air so high doing things no other gymnast in the world can do in a floor routine. I love the human stories. Michael Phelps shaking off suicidal thoughts after absorbing Rick Warren’s The Purpose Driven Life, coming out of retirement and winning everything again. Cyclist Kristin Armstrong winning an 18 mile bike race one day before her 43rd birthday and then showing her gold medal to her five year old son, Lucas while tears streamed down her face. I love watching people who don’t win but keep trying and never give up. Derek Redmond in Barcelona tearing his hamstring in a race he was expected to win, falling, getting up, and then while leaning on his father finishing his race. It doesn’t take a very good preacher to find a sermon in that. Or in watching Gabriela Andersen-Schiess in 1984 willing her body, as she stumbled forward, to cross the finish line of the Olympic marathon. It’s inspiring to watch people heroically keep going.
There are life lessons here. The Bible uses many sports metaphors. “Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with endurance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured…”And, “Do you know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way 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.” And there are more.
Consider how you are running your race. It matters. What you do today matters. Run hard. Run fast. Run well.