. US Soccer Women win GOLD!
So two weeks and more are finally over and I no longer have my beloved Olympics to entertain me. This was probably the first real time I actually watched, and followed, and kept track of athletes... with that being said, I've emerged as a more educated, informed, fan of sports. And of course, an even stronger, more passionate fan of soccer. I cannot began to describe how happy I am that the women aspect of soccer is really expanding... and that the other parts of the world are definitely catching up with the whole English/European mentality towards the game of football/soccer.
With that being said, I stumbled across a passage in the Bible that actually talks about the Olympic Games. Isn't it so awesome that we can always find something of relevance in the Bible? Anyway, here's a variety of translations of this verse:
1 Corinthians 9:25
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. (NIV)
And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. (NKJV)
You've all been to the stadium and seen the athletes race. Everyone runs; one wins. Run to win. All good athletes train hard. They do it for a gold medal that tarnishes and fades. You're after one that's gold eternally. (The Message)
And every man that striveth in the games exerciseth self-control in all things. Now they do it to receive a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. (ASV)
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. (KJV)
I then did a little research on the Olympics games. Since this London 2012 was the 30th Olympic games... I did the math: 30 x 4 = 120 years. That means the Olympic games started in 1892. 1 Corinthians was approximately written around A. D. 55. So when Paul was talking about the "games" or "running" for a prize.. what was he talking about?
It so happens that the games were going on a long time before 1892. According to John Piper, he writes,
When Paul wrote these words to the Corinthian Christians, he assumed that they all knew about the games. The Olympic Games took place in Greece every four years without interruption from 776 BC until they were suppressed by the Emperor Theodosius in AD 393. That's 1,169 years. Everyone knew about the games. So Paul didn't have to explain the games. Everybody was aware of the games then. And everybody is aware of the games today.Who knew the Bible is so relevant to the modern world? It looks like the Olympics were as big as a deal as they are today in the 21st century!
Finally, and most importantly, is finding out what Paul was trying to tell us about the Olympic games. I believe that Paul mentioned the games because he wanted us to compare the games to the everlasting picture of God, the gospel, and the Christian life. He gave us a guide as to how to watch the games. To paraphrase what I believe Paul is trying to say:
When you watch the games, transpose what you watch into another level. When you see the athletes running, see another kind of running. When you see them swimming, see another kind of swimming. When you see them pushing, striving, and working so hard for that gold, see another kind of pushing and striving. When you see the discipline and sacrifices they make, remember about the sacrifice God made for you. Don't strive to become extremely fit so you can be one of those athletes in Rio 2016, strive to become spiritually mature, working for the everlasting gold.
I don't know about you, but that puts the Olympics into a whole different light for me. Because as much as I enjoy watching the games, as much as a secretly wish that I could be an athlete working my butt of for a gold medal, I realize that there is something else much better than getting a slab of gold. Something way more everlasting, something way more fulfilling. Something that will make me feel that I have accomplished greatness in my life.
& that something is loving my God, loving His people, and making His disciplines.