I am always amazed at the skill almost supernatural performance of those Olympic athletes. What we don’t see is the dedication and drive that goes into preparing for every competition. Every contestant spends their life in perfecting the skill they seem to demonstrate with so little effort. They are directed by sports psychologists, fed strict meals at set hours, have time management experts, work out trainers, and coaches who guide them trough countless hours of practice in the hopes of improving by the slightest of time. They do all this to win a gold medal and temporary fame. Has anyone heard of Larisa Latynina? She was a soviet gymnast who is still the record holder for most individual medals won at the Olympics (14). She competed in 1956 and 1960. Michael Phelps is a close second with 11 individual medals. Maybe you heard of Teofilo Stevenson who boxed for Cuba. He won 3 heavyweight gold medals. (1972, 1976 and 1980) How about Emil Zatopek who won the 5,000 meters, the 10,000 meters and the marathon at the same Olympics handily beating all competitors in the 1952 event.
I am sure that the Apostle Paul would have been a track enthusiast as he describes what it is like in 1Corinthians 9:24-27:
“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. Therefore, I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.”
Paul described the training need to run the race of eternal life in Hebrews 12:1-3
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
We will never be perfect till Christ returns, but let’s not give up trying.