One would have to be living on another planet to have escaped the fact that the Olympics are running at this time. There have been some heroic stories. The Gold Medal won by the British Four man rowing team was sensational. Matthew Pinsent and his team certainly deserve credit.
There have also been some very sad moments. The best known and most published was the marathon in which Paula Radcliffe was unable to finish the race and broke down in tears. There had been so much expectation and hope but it all ended in tears.
I was listening to Radio Ulster recently and they interviewed a chaplain from the Olympics. She said that there were over 10,000 athletes chasing approximately 300 gold medals. Therefore quite a number will be disappointed.
I watched a little of the opening parade in which 201 countries took part. When I last checked the medal table only sixty five countries had any medal success.
Perhaps one of the saddest stories concerns British swimmer Sarah Price. Sarah gashed her legs on an underwater camera minutes before the start of her100 metres backstroke semi-final. Price, with cuts on both shins, finished last in her race having sustained the injury while warming up in the main pool 35 minutes before her race. Attempts to have the race rescheduled failed.
Price, in pain and fighting back tears, said: "I haven't trained for four years for it to end like that. If it had been my fault I could understand it.
The double Commonwealth champion had to have six stitches in her left leg and missed a crucial 15 minutes of her warm-up. To achieve a place on an Olympic team involves much commitment and dedication. How sad for all this effort to produce nothing.
The apostle Paul often used athletic examples in scripture. He once described the Christian life as a race.
1 Cor. 9:24 "Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain"
Paul reminds us that in an ordinary race only one receives a prize but in the Christian race all receive a prize. Every Christian who faithfully serves the Lord will be rewarded. There will be no disappointed Christians when they reach the finish line.
1 Cor. 9:25 "And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible"
Furthermore Paul reminds us that the rewards for Christian service are eternal and not temporal. Gold medals will be of no value in Heaven. Let me ask you are you in the race? Entry to the Christian race begins with accepting Jesus Christ as your own and personal saviour.
Acts 4:12 "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved"
Are you SURE that you have your place booked in Heaven? Read this if you're not!