Read: I Corinthians 9:24 |
The Opening Ceremony of the Olympics is the kickoff for each Olympic Games. One of the symbolic highlights of the opening is the lighting of the Olympic flame by a designee of the host country. The ancient Greeks started this tradition using a torch relay race. The winner was not the runner who finished first, but the runner who arrived with his torch still burning.[Source: Olympic Torch Relay History and its modern revival]. The modern Olympics eliminated the race in favor of a simple relay to transport the flame from Greece to the host city.
As believers, we are to keep our lamps/torches trimmed and burning while running this race until we reach the celestial city of our Heavenly father (Matthew 25:7).
Last week, we reviewed how the first two core values of Olympic athletes training and performing at their very best carry-over into the core values of believers wanting to please God with their best. This week, we will cover the last two “Olympic” core values we can use to perfect our faith:
- Become F.A.T. – Faithful-Available-Teachable
- Apply the 4P’s – Plan-Practice-Persevere-Perform
- Achieve Excellence
- Represent Christ
Bonnie St John is a one-legged Olympic ski medalist and an example of excellence in every aspect of her life. She is a graduate of Harvard, a Rhodes Scholar, former White House Official, inspirational speaker, the first African-American to win a medal in any Winter Olympic or Paralympic Games and a proud mother[Read her story here]. Her handicaps limited others expectations of what were possible to achieve, but never hers.
We can each strive to be faster off the start line when God calls our name. We can maintain our form and our faith as we go through our day. We can seek to achieve our personal best in a world where good enough is okay. Resist the urge to complete a task half-heartedly, half-done, half-baked or half-cocked. Go for the gold! Give a personal best every day, in every task. Pray and seek God’s guidance and then step out in faith to exceed what “we” thought was possible (2 Corinthians 8:3).
Olympians represent their home country as they compete in the games. Believers represent Christ our Savior.
Twin sisters Tracy and Lanny Barnes, American biathlon athletes share a strong friendship with each other and made news headlines when Tracy earned a spot on the 2014 Sochi Olympic team but she chose to give her spot to Lanny. Tracy thought Lanny deserved it more than she did, given her stronger performance over the past year. Tracy said, “I would have loved the opportunity to represent my country but it means more to me to give Lanny that chance,” [Source: Winter Olympics 2014: Lanny Barnes determined to repay twin sister who sacrificed her Sochi dream]
Biblically, I Thessalonians 4:12 and I Timothy 3:2 speak of winning and earning the respect of others by our words and deeds. Tracy’s selfless act reflects these verses in action and speaks volumes of her character. She implicitly trusts her sister to be the best representative. Our call is to be mindful and aware to whom we belong and represent. Christ died and entrusted us to carry out His will on this earth. He is worthy of our best representation.
Long-distance runner Paavo Nurmi of Finland was an Olympic champion, winning twelve medals (nine of them gold) in the 1920, 1924, and 1928 Games. Nurmi was famous not only for his achievements, but also for running with a stopwatch in his hand to check his performance. He noted that it is good to know how you’re doing along the way if you want to win a long-distance race.
As believers, we have the Holy Spirit as our stopwatch to check our performance each step of the race. Train and study like an Olympian to stay prepared for the race God has called us. At the start line of each day, go for the gold by giving an “Olympic” effort.
A. How do you define giving your best and being “excellent” for Christ?
B. Would Jesus be proud of how you have represented him thus far in your life?
A. How can you improve the quality of the things you do for Christ? Are there things you can do less of so that the activities you “are” involved in can be done with more “excellence”?
B. If there are areas of your life where you could represent Christ better, talk with a prayer partner about how you can go about changing things to be a better representative for Him.
A. When you get to Heaven, what will be the top ten things that God will be the proudest that you have done? What have you done lately?
B. How can you help others focus on giving an Olympic effort to serve Christ?
B. Share a story with your prayer partner with how you represented Christ this past week. Representation is not a one time event, it is a daily calling.