As with many of you, I have been inspired by the Olympians. But one of the sports really got me thinking. The marathon (both men's and woman's) and the triathlon (again...both men's and women's). It brought to mind the following verses in the Bible.
1 Corinthians 9:23-25:
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.
Hebrews 12:1-3 (New International Version)
1Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
Hebrews 12:1-3 (The Message)
Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we'd better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we're in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he's there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!
Watching the runners also made me realize something else...by the end of the race they had given their all. Not only in the race itself but in their discipline, their lifestyle...every part of their lives have been dedicated to this one moment. Those Olympians has poured themselves out. For some reason I had thought of the race that we as Christians run as something we will finish refreshed. As I looked at those runners struggling to put one foot in front of the other...completely spent....the thought hit me that this is how we are meant to live out lives here on earth. The apostle Paul states it best when he was saying goodbye to Timothy...
2 Timothy 4:5-7 (New International Version)
"But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry. For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith."
That's how I want to be when I arrive at heaven's gate...I want to have run the race for the prize not at a slow sight seeing saunter. I want to have used all the currency that God has given me...all my heart, soul, mind, and strength.