If you’re anything like me, you only watch competitive swimming once every four years. Ditto for all the other spectacles at the Olympics. Entries like equestrian dressage, trampoline, and 2012 newcomer, women’s boxing, were all part of the events featured in London this summer. The world is strangely mesmerized by this odd conglomeration of competitions, but then forgets about them almost immediately. Really, will anyone be searching their sports package for The Fencing Channel next week?
It’s unfortunate that Olympic athletes will train just as hard as any of the big sports stars, but most will receive little attention or financial reward for their efforts. Even medalists are not guaranteed much beyond a temporary spot on a package of cereal, or maybe a cup at McDonald’s. Some individuals become more memorable due to the network’s strategy of creating drama-building vignettes about the athletes. You can almost set your clock to the sentimental music fading in every 15 minutes with another tale of personal struggle, triumph, and heartbreak.
In some ways, Christianity can be like the Olympics. Christians are a diverse assortment of relatively unknown participants — all gifted in very different and unique ways. We each have our own stories of perseverance and failure, triumph and tragedy. And at times we all feel like unknown Olympic athletes, toiling away at our particular spiritual discipline with very little earthly recognition or reward.
The wonderful difference for us is that our performance is for the Lord. We don’t have to be one of the world’s elite to gain recognition in His kingdom. He’ll never overlook the lesser-known individuals or events, He’ll never lose interest or turn the channel, and He’ll never miss any of our accomplishments. And let’s not forget He’s the one giving out the medals as well. We may never become famous or win a prize for our achievements in this world, but we’re guaranteed a much greater reward in Heaven if we train diligently and serve Him faithfully – and that beats having our picture on a cereal box any day.
Hebrews 6:10 — God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown Him as you have helped His people and continue to help them.
2 Timothy 4:8 — There is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day —and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.
– Ron Reid