Friday, February 12, 2010

Let the games begin!

TODAY’S SPECIAL: 1 Corinthians 9:16-27

TO CHEW ON: “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it.” I Corinthians 9:24

Today the 2010 Olympics begin in Vancouver, BC, Canada (just a 45-minute drive from where I live)! Vancouver has been preparing for this event for seven years. When my daughter and I posed in front of this Olympic countdown clock in 2003, 2,357 days seemed like an eternity away.

In the intervening years a lot has gone on. There has been upheaval and inconvenience as roads were improved and buildings raised. Thousands of employees and volunteers have signed up to help. A complex security system has been put in place. In the last few weeks, travel and parking around Vancouver has become increasingly difficult as the city prepares for a multitude of visitors and their timely delivery to event venues all over the Greater Vancouver area and as far away as Whistler.

Athletes around the world have been preparing too. They’ve disciplined and trained their bodies. They’ve entered qualifying competitions to earn the right to represent their countries. They’ve sacrificed time, money, energy, perhaps even relationships, all for the privilege of competing with the world’s premiere athletes in this event.

The likenesses of the Christian life to an athletic competition were not lost on Paul – and they resonate with us today in a fresh way:

1. We work toward a goal. Like event organizers and athletes, we live our Christian lives with the goal in view. To win for us means Christ’s “Well done.” Every sacrifice, discipline and hardship is worth that prize.

2. We make the necessary sacrifices. Like the host community and the athletes, Christians prepare. We do that by learning how to use the equipment (the Bible) and exercising disciplines like prayer, fasting, stewardship of our possessions and our bodies, balancing rest and work – not to earn salvation but because we function best when we follow the Maker’s instructions.

3. We avoid becoming disqualified. How heartbreaking when, after years of preparation, an athlete’s effort doesn’t count because he broke the rules. How just as heartbreaking to see Christians of prominence and influence fall by the wayside because of moral or ethical failure. How to avoid this? We must follow Paul’s example: “I discipline my body and bring it into subjection… lest I myself become disqualified.” Sin starts so tiny – just a thought… Even that must be nipped it in the bud.

The Christian’s Olympic Games start the day we hand over the controls of our lives to Jesus and end when He welcomes us home. May we all finish well!

PRAYER: Dear God, help me to live my Christian life with the focus of an athlete intent on winning the prize. And I pray for the Vancouver Olympic Games. May they be a wonderful celebration for the world, safe and free from tragedy of any kind. Amen.

MORE: More than Gold
Under the “More than Gold” banner, churches and para-church organizations have been preparing for the 2010 Olympics since 2004. Their purpose: “To connect and coordinate the community in working together on initiatives before, during and after the 2010 Games; building a momentum that becomes a tipping point toward the holistic transformation of our city.”

Explore all the exciting events they have planned. Then join them in praying for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic (February 12-28) and Paralympic Games (March 12-21, 2010).


  1. I totally agree with you.
    We as Christians are Spiritual Olympians running a spiritual marathon to the finish line.
    You would love reading my book:
    The Christian Olympics: Going for the Gold Crowns.The unveiling of the Bible’s comparison of the Christian race to the Olympic Games.

    I am hoping to meet you, Spiritual Olympian, at the Spiritual Reward Ceremony.
    Until then,run with patience,

  2. Thank you for coming by, S.E. - and for the heads-up about your book. I'm sure I would enjoy it!! Yes, the final Award Ceremony - won't it be great?!

  3. It will be amazing, Violet! Far more beautiful than we can imagine -- and to finish the race with "well done good and faithful servant," is a goal to be training for! Thanks for stopping by ... hope you found your weights!

    Will be praying that there are opportunities for people to be drawn to Jesus during the games. Never thought of what an outreach opportunity it is!

  4. Thanks, Andrea! Just finished watching opening ceremonies. (I wonder if they'll have those in heaven...) Oh yes, my weights...still haven't found them.


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