A prize that lasts forever

17 Feb

It has been six months since the London Olympics and I for one enjoyed them immensely.  However, as much of the Channel 9 commentary team tried to hide it, the overwhelming feeling of those games was one of disappointment for Australia.  The broadcasters struggled to hide their disappointment each time another silver medalist came into the studio, clearly agreeing with whoever it was who said that the silver medalist is just the ‘fastest loser’.  My prayer for these Athletes is that with time they might get a sense of perspective and see what an achievement it is even to have made the Olympics.


Interestingly, the Bible has a perspective that our ‘silver’ country needs to hear at present.  The Apostle Paul knew about the Greek games (perhaps he even attended an ancient version?) and he used the hardworking athlete as an example in 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 –


Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.  25 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.  26 Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air.  27 No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.


Obviously we should not push the analogy too far.  Our place in heaven is not earned by our own efforts but is a free gift of grace on for us by Jesus at the cross.  However, the point he makes is that the Christian life is not one where we dawdle up and expect to be given a gold medal.  Instead it requires hard work, commitment and dedication.  As the rower or swimmer devotes themselves to hard work and training – so does the Christian.  Our early morning laps are not in the pool but in the word of God and prayer.  Our training partners are those we meet with in Christian fellowship.   Most amazingly, our medal will never fade or be forgotten (who won the 100 metre breaststroke final at the last Olympics?  Anyone?).  No unlike Olympic gold, silver and bronze, the crown of eternal life and a place in God’s kingdom lasts forever.  Perhaps we should write some of our swimmers a ‘hero gram’ and share that message?


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