Like many of you, I’ve been enjoying the Olympics very much. I’m constantly amazed at the dedication of athletes who willingly sacrifice themselves for their sport and devote countless hours to serious training. But I always wonder, at the same time, what it would be like if Christians were as devoted to their faith as athletes are to their sport. I think if they were they would take Paul’s admonition to the Corinthians seriously:
“Do you not realise that, though all the runners in the stadium take part in the race, only one of them gets the prize? Run like that — to win. Every athlete concentrates completely on training, and this is to win a wreath that will wither, whereas ours will never wither. So that is how I run, not without a clear goal; and how I box, not wasting blows on air. I punish my body and bring it under control, to avoid any risk that, having acted as herald for others, I myself may be disqualified. (1 Cor. 9:24-27)”
What does Paul mean? He means live like someone dedicated to their cause, like someone utterly committed, like someone who dare not risk being disqualified, like someone who fears failure more than death. That’s the challenge Paul issues the Corinthians and the challenge we too are summoned to accept.
Live like faith matters more than anything and like God matters most of all. That, after all, is the sort of person God can use to change the world. Not by giving them a little medal that over time fades into forgetful forgotteness but by using them as his very own instruments of eternal redemption.
Imagine if the United States were filled with Christians as devoted to Christ as athletes are to their sport. Imagine…