The apostle Paul and the Olympics! - September 2012
During our visit to the UK this summer, Hilary and I managed to watch plenty of the 2012 Olympic Games on the television and attended one event. We saw many heroes. British athletes and commentators emphasized to an “instant gratification” British youth culture that hard work, picking oneself up after disappointments, team-work could lead anybody to incredible achievements. It was very moving when a whole stadium crowd applauded a fully-covered Saudi Arabian women who crossed the finish line in her track race long after the rest of the competitors. Or to see the fastest 100 meters male runner insist on exchanging race identity numbers with a South African athlete running on prosthetic legs.
No wonder Paul picks up Olympic-type athletic imagery in his letters. Track events and boxing evidently grabbed him! “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” (I Corinthians 9:25-26). “Similarly, if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not receive the victor’s crown unless he competes according to the rules” (2 Timothy 2:5).
I hope we are all going for the crown – the right kind! +Bill