Anyone who knows me realizes I am not a night person. My brain begins to shut down about 8:00 p.m. and by 9:00 p.m. I am ready to hit the hay. However, over the past couple of weeks, my sleep schedule has been disrupted by balance beam routines, 100 meter runs and unimaginable flips and turns off the five meter platform. With the kind of discipline the Olympic athletes put in to prepare themselves for the Olympic games, the least I can do is keep my eyelids open, paying them respect while lounging on our sectional.
Having spent some time participating in athletics, at the high school and collegiate level, I know what it takes to achieve the level of success Olympic athletes reach. I also know I was not talented enough to ever experience the elation of having any kind of medal placed around my neck. That’s why the Olympics draw me in as I live vicariously through each gait, each leap, and each goal. After cheering the USA on through prelims, semis and the finals, I feel like a piece of the medal is mine for the energy I expended rooting them on to victory!
However, before we think our chances to compete at the highest level have passed us by, the Bible talks about a prize we can all attain in 1 Corinthians 9:24-26: 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.
To reach the pinnacle in our Christian walk takes strict training and discipline, whether in our quiet time with God, in our outreach to others less fortunate or in or willingness to share the gospel with the people we come into contact with. These disciplines don’t come naturally. Like an Olympian, we need to be in constant training, whether it’s by setting the alarm thirty minutes earlier to spend time with the Lord, or by praying for an opportunity to share Christ with a lost friend. For you sports fans, our life is a long distance run, one of perseverance in Godly behavior and one of dedication to God.
Yes, I will start getting sleep again but my own personal Olympics will continue. I pray I will never stop running a race that will one day receive the prize. How about you?