I just love the Olympics, the atmosphere, the camaraderie, and the way it just has the capacity to bring people together. I’ve never personally attended any of the Olympic Games, but I’ve always tried to catch up with as much of it as possible. Sometimes I’m a bit unlucky and might travel away on holiday and get caught up spending time at the pool side sipping something refreshing and miss most of the actions of the games. No chance of that this year! I’ve prepared as much as I can. I have gone in to work and have done as much planning as I can for September (to avoid having to go when the excitement of the games start). I’ve stock piled drinks and snacks, mounted the TV and got my flags ready to support my team.
All this preparation has got me thinking about another type of Olympics. As a result I have done some comparisons.
The runners in the Olympic Games are determined to outrun everyone else on the track. In the Christian race, competition with other Christians is not meant to be as such. In fact, each man is required to help others realise good. (1 Corinthians 10:24; Philippians 2:2-3). Each Christian stands ready to help other Christians (1 Thessalonians 5:11; Hebrews 10:24).
A Christian’s only competitor is himself: he must master, buffet, discipline his own mind and body, and keep them “in subjection, lest” he be “disqualified” (Matthew 5:28; 1 Corinthians 9:27). Whilst athletes these days are doping and being disqualified from the games, the Christian is encouraged to ‘dope’ up on the word of God to keep him as he runs the race.
In the Olympic races only one person can be the winner. Only one receives the main prize. Everyone else is an “also ran.” In the Christian race, everyone who has “finished the course,” being “faithful unto death,” is a winner (2 Timothy 4:7; Revelation 2:10). Paul delighted to say that not he alone was a winner but also “all those who have loved” the Lord’s appearance (2 Timothy 4:8). In the Christian race all can get the main prize, the opportunity to live with Christ forever!
At Olympia, in the long ago stadium, seats were cut from natural rock. In modern times, the spectators are not only seated in gigantic arenas, but also they are seated in front of TV screens all around the world.
In the Christian race, the saved who have died are not yet in heaven, are sleeping, awaiting their just reward, despite what many believe.In the Olympics, the spectators are watching from stadium seats, willing their favourite athletes on. In the Christian race, we who are alive are all spectators, but the good thing is that we can all be taking part in the Christian race.
The winner of one Olympic games received a wreath of parsley or of pine leaves. The winner of the Olympic Race in the olden days received a crown made from olive branches, while in modern days he receives a gold medal. Sometimes other fancy floral tributes are given.
In the olden days, and now, Christians who “have finished the course” and have “kept the faith” will receive, at the “appearing” of the Lord Jesus, not a medal of gold, but they will live in a “city” of “pure gold” and walk on a “street” of “pure gold” (2 Timothy 4:7-8; Revelation 21:18, 21). On their heads will be, not a perishable crown of olive branches, but an “imperishable” crown of “righteousness,” the “crown of life” (1 Corinthians 9:25; 2 Timothy 4:7-8; Revelation 2:10).
My encouragement to you as you watch or participate in these modern Olympic Games: keep your eyes focused on the greater ‘games’, keep your gaze eyes fixed on the main prize. Try not to lose out. It will be worth it! In my mind I can hear the angelic host willing you on! It’s a rapturous sound. What are you going to do for the Great Game? Be a spectator, or a competitor. We all should be able to sing: ‘Home at last, the redeemed are home at last’! Think on these things and have a great week.