When I was a child, the US Olympic team consistently fell behind in medals to the Soviet Union. Sometime in my memory, there was a discussion about the merits of the process, largely individual, while countries like the Soviet Union began selecting and grooming its Olympic athletes from birth. I don't have a clear memory of the timeline from that point forward, but this year, the US team hit gold consistently and dominated in areas that were once owned by the Soviet bloc (gymnastics for example).
As the games were closed out, the medal count was significant - 121 medals for the US team. That is a point of pride for the athletes, their families and the efforts of the US Olympic team as they look back on those decisions made somewhere in the past to improve training processes, selection, and moving on toward the Olympics. The interesting part of this Olympics was the standard pose, biting into the gold medal, which we were able to see quite a bit from the US athletes.
Interestingly enough, Paul was familiar with such games, perhaps even the Olympics in Greece, which was early in its history when he was alive. As much stock as we put into the medals and achievement, Paul notes the difference between the perishable and the imperishable. "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." (1 Corinthians 9:24 - 25)
Sometime in the next 100 years, a family member will hold up a medal and talk about the winner (grandpa or grandma) and talk about the Olympics they participated in, but their hope is not in the medal, nor is ours. Our crown is Christ Jesus, whose death and resurrection gives us the hope, the imperishable wreath, of eternal life.
We pray a prayer for those who do not have this imperishable wreath and that the Spirit move their hearts to turn to Christ.
Hope Men's Ministry