February 10, 2014

Thrill of Victory

For two weeks every two years, I change from Mrs. There-is-little-value-in-watching-TV-sports to Mrs. We-should-buy-cable-TV-in-order-to-see-more-Olympics. I love the Olympics. I have the John Williams CD, the Roots Torino beret and the U.S. Olympic Training Center pins.

Not every aspect of the Olympics is perfect. And, glory is fleeting. There is the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat. The athletes' dedication and perseverance is commendable, but "they do it to receive a perishable wreath." (I Corinthians 9:25) However, watching the Olympic Games and cheering for the athletes help me reflect on a greater reality that ends, not with a gold medal, but with eternal reward.

This is big. Not many of the Olympic hopefuls are able to recite the ancient games' history, but they all want very much to be part of it. Being allowed to compete even once is a great honor.

In a similar way, as a Christian, I don't know everything about redemptive history, but I want to be included in it. It is a privilege to be chosen by God from eternity past. I am participating in something that is much bigger than me.

There will be prizes. Athletes train hard and overcome great odds to make it to the Olympics. These men and women are intense in reaching their goals because some events allow only one chance to get a medal.

There is even more glory involved in being a believer. I have the assurance of an everlasting reward. It doesn't disappear when I have a bad day and doesn't depend on my performance. Instead, God's favor and grace serve as motivators for me to live an obedient Christian life and to sacrifice for the prize set before me.

It's party time. There is much spectacle and celebration connected with the Olympic Opening Ceremonies. It seems that the special effects get bigger and the colors get brighter each time. Excitement runs high among the participants as they take "selfies" and walk into the stadium wearing broad smiles and the same designer fashions as their countrymen.  

I see some comparisons and contrasts here to the Christian life. I look forward to a spectacular event where many people from every tribe and nation will be united before the throne in white robes designed by God. It will be a holy day like no other, and I won't be worshipping myself. God's people, who share in Christ's inheritance, will be saying, "Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb."

Victory at last. This is worth cheering about.


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