Word from the Elders (August 2012)

The Christian Olympics

The Olympic Games in London were officially opened on 27 July with much razzmatazz and with a spectacular show depicting the rich history and culture of the British and their ancestry.

I am sure that many of us will enjoy the various events and marvel at the high standard of skills shown by athletes in their respective field of sports.  Personally for me, I am hoping that Usain Bolt will have the race of his life and break the world record in the 100 meters.

However, I am reminded that as Christians, who are redeemed by the love and sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ, we, too, are in a race for our lives. It is not the ‘rat race’ that the world subjects many to, where you go round and round in circles.  Instead it is a race for us to pursue to know our Lord, to love our Lord and to live for our Lord daily, for as long as we have breath.

In 1 Cor 9: 24-25, Paul writes:  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.

The rewards we are promised by our Lord are not medals, fame, money or any transient stuff that will be forgotten, useless and become rusty some day.  We are in a race to obtain a crown that will last forever, a crown given by the eternal King of Kings.  It means that when we win this race set for us, our names will be remembered in all earthly and heavenly realms forever and ever, and our victory can never be erased or forgotten by anyone, as it is written in the book of life.

Wow, what a crown!

And, unlike the Olympics where only 3 or 4 medals are given to winners, and the losers just have to contend with the experience and emotions of competing, this crown promised by our Lord is given to anyone who finishes the race (i.e., there are no quotas at all!).

Therefore, I praise the Lord because we can go into this race full of confidence that our brothers and sisters are not our rivals but are our partners in helping each other to finish the race.

For many athletes, taking part in the Olympics is the reward and the result of years of discipline, sacrifice and hard work in training and being totally focused to be the best they can be in their field of sports.

In 1 Cor 9: 26-27, Paul writes: 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.

How tragic it would be if an athlete was disqualified from the race he is supposed to take part in.  Paul reminds himself that he needs to be disciplined, focused, train hard, so that when he preaches to others to run the race, he himself will not be disqualified but will be able to join others in running and finishing the race.

I am truly humbled by this concern of Paul because sometimes it is so easy for us (myself included) to tell others how to follow our Lord but we live as if we are exempt from doing the same.  May the Lord search our hearts and lead us to His everlasting ways.

As we enjoy watching the Olympics this month, may we be reminded that we, too, must run our Christian race to know our Lord by praying to Him, meditating on His Word, loving Him, worshipping Him, living for Him, serving Him, giving Him all honor and glory daily in all that we do, to the best of our ability, until the day we touch the finish tape, cross the finish line and finish our race.

                            ~ Choo Min Fook ~

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