Friday, 15 August 2008

Gold medals in Beijing and the Bible

Nicole Cooke below talks about her Olympic Gold cycling win in Beijing.

She refers to something someone had written on the road whilst competing in a junior mountain bike race in 2001. It said:

"Pain is temporary. Glory is everlasting."

Cooke is so right in that sport, at it's best, brings out some of the best in people. It can inspire, motivate and unify us all in the pursuit of excellence; and promote great character traits like perseverance, teamwork and empathy.  When it all goes well the glory and feel-good-factor for all involved is amazing.

To win a gold medal, to have the eyes of the world upon you in that moment of victory, to have that memory with you for the rest of your life, and to know that your victory will be recorded in the history books for the rest of humanity to see long after you have left this life must be an incredible thing both to experience and to reminisce over long afterwards.
But there is a glory that is even greater than this:

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. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. 
1 Cor 9:24-27

When life as we know it is over, and we pass into our eternal home, it is then that every eye shall see what the greatest of all medal-worthy deeds and all those who have persevered in trusting and loving Jesus Christ will echo the words of Paul as they receive their medals (or should I say crowns):

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  Henceforth there is laid up 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 loved his appearing.
2 Tim 4:7-8

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