The 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics ended last weekend. My family and I couldn’t get enough of them! For the most part, our family enjoys sporting events and when the Olympics rolls around every two years (summer/winter), we watch, cheer, and “oo & ah” on a nearly daily basis. You’ve got to hand it to the Olympic athletes – here are people who have trained much of their life for this moment (or in the case of the 50K cross-country skiers – an hour and 45+ minutes). I always feel bad for the skater who falls on her first triple-axle during the long free program or the speed skater who is nudged on the first turn and goes sprawling into the boards. They have trained for countless hours for this moment.
I admire the Olympic athlete in any sport. They train and train – countless hours are spent honing their muscles, their balance, their strength, their resolve – all with one goal in mind. They want to win to stand on the medal podium. Hear their nation’s anthem. Make their country proud. Win the gold medal. A very noble pursuit indeed. I applaud every athlete from this recent Winter Olympics.
But I couldn’t stop thinking of a certain phrase of Scripture in which the Apostle Paul refers to some type of Olympic Games in I Corinthians 9:25, Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown, but we an incorruptible. Paul is not denying, denigrating, or demeaning the efforts of the Olympian. No, he just puts it into perspective. And what a perspective for the Christian! Verse 24 we are admonished to run, that ye may obtain! In verse 26, Paul tells you what he is going to do. Whether you join him or not he says, I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air.
Paul makes it clear that he is not just going through the motions. An Olympic athlete does not train for four long years just to go through the motions. An Olympic athlete does not push him or herself to “run uncertainly.” There is no wavering when you are training to be a world-class athlete. You’re either all in or not. And get this – it is for a “corruptible crown.” In other words, it is for something that will not last forever. Something temporary. Something that will eventually fade away.
Which brings me to the question I ask myself – why do I so often run the Christian race uncertainly? Why do I “fight the good fight of faith” so tepidly in my own life? Ted Ligety trained for years and years to win a gold medal. I’m glad he won that medal. I’m happy for him. However, that gold medal is corruptible. In other words, it won’t last forever. But the Christian race I am running, the prize I am trying to claim is incorruptible. It will last for eternity.
Why is an Olympic athlete more serious about obtaining a corruptible crown than I am an incorruptible crown? Hey fellow Christian – why don’t you and I get serious about this race that we are in? Let’s start becoming dedicated to winning the incorruptible crown that is available for the Christian. Let’s quit fooling around and keep our bodies under subjection so that we don’t end up being castaways. Let’s get serious about eternity. They – the Olympians – do it to obtain a corruptible crown, but we an incorruptible.
C’mon – it’s time to get serious about training; it’s time to get into the race; it’s time to realize that we do this to obtain an incorruptible crown!