I get really excited about the Olympics. I was 10 years old for the Atlanta games. I have distinct memories of sitting at daycare through the summer watching every single swimming preliminary. I was obsessed. I dreamed about what sport I could possibly qualify for the Olympics (only if sleeping were an Olympic sport would I have a chance). And that obsession has lived on for the past twenty years. We're watching the Olympics almost every night. While many of you are watching the Olympics each night as well, I wanted to give you some things to ponder in between the sporadic chants of U-S-A (or whatever country you're from). Here are three Scriptural reflections related to the Olympics.
1 Timothy 4:7b-8 - Train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.
What if you put the same kind of effort into your spiritual life as the Olympic athletes put into their training? Would you know and love and cherish God and his Kingdom more? God does all the work in our lives, but God often uses our spiritual disciplines to grow us! Train yourself for godliness!
1 Corinthians 9:24-27 - Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.
This passage sounds really similar to 1 Timothy, right? But the thing that is different here is that he elaborates more about our motivations. Paul is reminding us that athletic glory, Olympic glory, ANY glory in this life is perishable. It only lasts for a moment. But the promises of God are imperishable. They will last forever. That's where we should invest our time. Strive after God with purpose!
Matthew 28:19-20 - Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
The Olympics have athletes from almost every country. They have athletes from countries that we currently have missionaries in, and they have athletes in countries that it's hard to get missionaries into. Instead of just hoping that our competition loses, why don't you pray for them to know God? Allow that to be time that you pray for all nations to come to the truth of Jesus!
- Pastor Fletcher