Go Gold. Go GOD!!!
“...we both know that our identity is in Christ,” David Boudia said matter-of-factly.
Whaaaaat?! Did I just hear what I think I heard? An Olympic silver medalist giving glory to Christ on LIVE television?!!
“The fact that I was going into this event knowing that my identity is rooted in Christ and not what the result of this competition is just gave me peace…” added Boudia’s diving partner, Steele Johnson.
“Wow! We're just getting started and already these are the best Olympics ever!!” I thought out loud. The way David Boudia and Steele Johnson twisted and flipped their way to Olympic Silver in synchronized diving was awe-inspiring in and of itself. But it was how they turned the diving platform into a platform for the Lord that took my breath away.
On the TODAY show, gymnastics phenom, Simone Biles, gave glory to the Lord for her talent and collection of medals (mostly gold).
Just minutes after winning the 400m in record-setting time, South African runner Wayde van Niekerk credited the Lord for his gold medal. “The only thing I can do now is to give God praise,” he told the media.
Christ’s name was lifted up in the agony of defeat. 100m hopeful Trayvon Bromell tweeted this after missing out on a medal: "People telling me to hold my head up...do y'all not know the God we serve, I will never hold my head down. God is great! #Blessed."
Can I get an AMEN?! And did you happen to see the awful crash in the 5,000-meter qualifying heat? Runners Abbey D’Agostino and Nikki Hamblin both went down. D’Agostino helped her rival to her feet. And the two of them helped one another finish the race. The world called it impressive sportsmanship. Abbey D’Agostino called it Christ. "Although my actions were instinctual at the moment, the only way I can and have rationalized it is that God prepared my heart to respond that way... This whole time here he's made clear to me that my experience in Rio was going to be about more than my race performance - and as soon as Nikki got up I knew that was it."
UNBELIEVABLE! Jesus Christ taking one victory lap after another on the world's largest stage. How ironic given that the Olympic games originated as part of a religious festival honoring the Greek god Zeus, king of the Greek pantheon. The Olympics was (and one could argue still is) a festival celebrating false deities and elevating men to almost god-like status. An absolute affront to the Lord. And yet, we see Olympic imagery throughout the New Testament.
“we must get rid of every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and run with endurance the race set out for us, keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith. For the joy set out for him he endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God. Think of him who endured such opposition against himself by sinners, so that you may not grow weary in your souls and give up.” (Heb 12:1-3; NET)
Why on earth would the New Testament writers, who were teaching new believers how reject the world and obediently follow Jesus Christ, go anywhere near pagan culture in their writings? Because that’s where the 1st Century believers lived… smack-dab in the middle of pagan culture. In His brilliance, God connects with what is culturally relevant at the time... and then in perfect form turns culture on its head…
Run in such a way that you may win. Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. (1 Cor 9:24-25; NASB)
In Paul’s day, an Olympic champion didn’t receive a medal. He was crowned with a wreath made from the branches of a wild olive tree. The “laurel wreath” celebrated the ultimate in human accomplishment and made the victor an instant hero. It must have been something to behold!... until it withered and died. Again borrowing from that pagan phenomenon called the Olympics, Paul says the life of a Christ-follower looks a lot like an elite athlete, requiring commitment, focus, sacrifice, tenacity and strength-training. But when all is said and done, the Christian’s reward far outruns that of the Olympian. When the Christian crosses his finish line, he will be crowned with a victor’s wreath that will never wither and die. Now that’s solid gold!
And speaking of gold… did you get a look at Usain Bolt’s running shoes? Guess who he credits for bringing those shiny shoes across the finish line in record time….
Go GOD! Go GOLD!!!