God's Wrath was Satisfied

God's Wrath was Satisfied
Preach the Word!!

Monday, 13 August 2012

The Olympics: Is this what Paul meant when he said, "run so as to obtain the prize?"

Felix Sanchez in tears of joy after winning 400m race


Gabby Douglas with team coordinator after winning gold

Clayton Fredrick falls on a horse
 I love sport and I enjoy seeing sports men and women in action. I also know that thousands of people were glued to their TV screens to watch these passionate games (the Olympics). But then,how should Christians view the Olympics? Is this what the Apostle Paul meant when he said, “run so as to obtain the prize?”  Too bad I did not get to watch these men and women fulfill their dreams and break records (I don't have a TV. Shhhh don't tell anyone!). However, when events like the Olympics are taking place, it reminds me of something joyous, something that my eyes cannot wait to see. It is the extraordinary. The time when the saints will go marching in, to receive their crowns and rewards for that which they labored. Before we think of the prizes that will be obtained, we need to ask ourselves this question. Are we using our gifts with the measure of grace given us? Apart from that we must also put to mind the hard work that these people (the athletes) put in before competing and finally winning. It is the same with our Christian walk. The Christian race is not an easy one. Sometimes we will fall along the way
Michael Phelps, most decorated Olympian.
Rudhisha of Kenya celebrates after winning gold
The Williams Sisters with their gold medals
Usain Bolt celebrates after 100m race
 and this may cause pain. Sometimes we will succeed and this will bring joy. At times the race will seem impossible and this may bring anxiety. During the Olympics, there were all kinds of activities. Some were falling. Others were breaking their bones. You may say “well as long as I get to heaven.” Yes you will but I can already see the sorrow on your face. When others will be rejoicing with tears of joy, and their you will be, wondering why you did not support the missionary work, why you did not use your gift of preaching, why you did not use your gifted voice to sing in the choir and why you did not use your gift of teaching. Remember the prize is according to the measure of grace that is given to you. Don't try and be the other person.  The Olympics have all kinds of categories and each athlete knows what fits him well. Likewise, each Christian has his own gifts. There some saints who have so much potential. Some Christians are blessed with so much wealth but very little or none is being invested in the work of the Lord. Some are highly gifted but rarely use their abilities. Believer, "do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? so run that you may obtain it... they do it to receive a perishable crown but we an
Gatlin shows off national flag after obtaining silver
imperishable" 1 Cor 9:24-25. Sometimes it will require you to make great sacrifices of your time, your friends, your money and even your life. And that is why Paul, when he is about to be beheaded, he would confidently say, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness..." 2 Tim 4:7-8 . And notice the issue is about being passionate about the message of the gospel. These athletes are passionate about what they do. God has saved us not so we can sit and be idle. Its is so that we further the gospel. Notice when Paul is talking about receiving the prize, its not about how spiritual we need to become that motivates him but about how that he endures all things for the sake of the gospel. That is what the prize is all about. Its about the gospel! The gospel! The gospel! The race is still on. You can still make a difference. Its like the hymn writer says, "Let us not grow weary in the work of love. Send the light, send the light. Let us gather jewels for  a crown above. Send the light, send the light. Send the light the blessed gospel light, let it shine from shore to shore, let it's radiant beams light the world forever more."  And still another writes saying, "bringing in the sheaves, bringing in the sheaves, we shall come rejoicing bringing in the sheaves." Amen


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