Tag Archives: Olympics

Spiritual Sportsmanship

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I love watching the Olympics because I love sports, competition and people performing at their best. I don’t celebrate when people from other nations fall or mess up. I’m sure it’s devastating to them. They’ve spent a lifetime trying to perfect a skill and then, when the whole world is watching, they slip up and fall. We shouldn’t celebrate when anyone messes up simply because we don’t like them, are in competition with them or they’re from another country. We should celebrate with those who win and help those who didn’t.

I read the story of Dario Cologna from Switzerland. He won the gold medal in men’s cross country skiing. After skiing 15 km (9 miles), he, like everyone else collapsed at the finish line. He had given it his all. Instead of going back to get a massage or to celebrate, he waited until the last person came across the line and congratulated him for completing the race. Roberto Carcelen of Peru finished in 87th place and about 30 minutes behind Cologna. Carcelen is Peru’s first winter Olympian and raced even though he fractured a rib in training. The last person he expected to see was the gold medal winner.

Each one of us are in a race as a Christian. Paul told us to run as if to win the prize. At the end of his life, he said, “I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful (II Timothy 4:7).” He wanted us to approach the Christian life as a race. It takes training, discipline and hard work over time. We are to stay focused on the prize as we run it. At the end of our life, we should be able to say we gave it our all and collapse at the finish line. We should be like the gold medalist in the Olympics who knows they gave it their all and has a great feeling of accomplishment.

We should also be like Dario Cologna from Switzerland. We should celebrate with others who complete the race. We should encourage others to keep going when they’d rather give up. We should recognize this life isn’t just about getting across the finish line in first place, but it’s also about helping others make it to the end. Galatians 6:1 says, “If another believer is overcome by sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path.” We shouldn’t be so competitive in our faith that we fail to stop and help others who have fallen. We shouldn’t be so self righteous that we celebrate when other believers whom we don’t like fall.

Its never a good day when someone falls, especially those who are well known in the faith. It’s our responsibility to help them up. It’s our responsibility to restore them. It’s not our job to laugh or to make fun of. Each one of us are human and will fail in our race at some point. Each one of us will need restoration from other believers. Keep your eye out today for others who need a hand back up. Look out for those who may not be as swift as you are in the race. Celebrate their victories and share their burdens when they fall. That’s how we can fulfill the law of Christ.

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Great for God

I love Nike’s new “Greatness” commercials. For years they have had commercials featuring the best athletes in the world. Now, their commercials feature everyday looking people who overweight, short or not athletic. They are saying that greatness isn’t reserved for a chosen few. We all have the ability to be great, even if it’s just greater than we were.

You and I have the ability to be great for God’s Kingdom. Even if we never become as famous as Billy Graham, it doesn’t mean we can’t do great things for God. Jesus said to be greatest in His Kingdom, we had to be the least. It starts with humility because to be great recognizes that we can’t do it on our own. It is God who works through us. There is more to being great though. I’ve found that physical disciplines often translate to spiritual disciplines and greatness is one of those that translates.

Here are three things required to be great for God.

1. Time

No one ever became great at anything without putting in lots of time. Jesus asked the disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane, “Can’t you just spend one hour with me?” He knew that to do what He needed them to do, they needed to put in quality time. Today, for most of us, Jesus would love it if we just spent 10 minutes with Him.

D.L. Moody used to spend 8 hours a day in prayer. He recognized that to be a great minister, he had to spend time with God. When you spend time with someone, you get to know them. To know God’s heart and what His desire is, you will have to spend time with Him. If you want to be great for God, you will have to put in lots of time in prayer.

2. Pain

We’ve all heard the phrase “no pain, no gain” which is why most of us stay out of the gym. We don’t want to go through the pain to get our body in shape. We don’t want to break a sweat, but we want to get the results of it. If being fit were easy, we’d all do it. Greatness requires you to go through some pain and sweat.

Anyone who ever did anything great for God went through times of intense pain. Those times of pain and struggling temper you and prepare you. They allow you to connect with others and help you to endure in tougher times that may be coming. Great people often attribute their greatness to enduring times of hardship and pain. It’s in those times that we find out what we’re made of and who we are.

3. Faithfulness

Greatness starts with faithfulness. You have to be committed to continuing the course even when you don’t feel like it. You have to keep the end in mind and take things one step at a time. You don’t get to the Olympics by showing up there. You have to compete in small tournaments. When you’re successful, you move up to larger ones until you make it.

Jesus said that when we’ve been faithful over a few things, He will make us faithful over many. Most of us want to start with many and work our way up from there. That’s not God’s plan. Be faithful where you are right now to those that God has entrusted to you. When you spend time there, go through the growing pains and prove your faithfulness, He will take you to that next level of greatness.

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