In our modern era, there is not much more exciting than watching the international Olympic Games. The entire world puts on a spectacle as it’s best go head to head. From some of my favorites like swimming, football/soccer, the traditional track and field, to some of the other quite acclaimed sports such as gymnastics, weightlifting, and boxing, the competitions are always fierce and intense. I have been astonished at the caliber of my own personal sport, swimming, from simply watching the USA women trials earlier this summer. In the 100 meter backstroke alone, the physical requirements for the Olympic games caused there to be a full heat [race bracket] of teenagers. Such is the competitive nature of the games that all athletes have to be the prime of the prime, the fittest, and most agile to compete. There is no wiggle room if one desires to win in the Olympics.
At the Olympic’s inception, the games were initially a religious event, in honor of the gods, especially Zeus. Wars between the Greek city-states would cease in a sacred truce during the games, since they were a religious event. Events would include races, many events such like our modern track and field, boxing, and so on. So, the games evolved, and all the time, winners would be always generously honored as heroes and abundantly praised for their accomplishments. All these things were done in the name of the gods.
In 1896, the very first Olympic games in over 2,000 years were held in Greece, and this time, athletes from over ten countries participated, something that had never happened in history before. This time, the games were held in the secular field. And so, for over one hundred years, the Olympics have grown and exploded in grandeur and international popularity; also, the competition has never ceased to become more intensive. So tonight, we will watch the opening ceremonies of the 2012 London Summer Olympic Games. [And, I too am extremely excited!]
Maybe we should take an opportunity to think about the original nature of the games once more though. As I previously said, the Olympics were originally held in honor of the Greek pagan gods. But we do not serve these ancient Greek gods. We serve and desire to worship and give glory to the God of the universe, the LORD, the Lord of Hosts. Magnificent, and eternal, full of glory, our God is. Yes, some Olympic athletes give honor to The LORD specifically, but obviously not everyone is Olympic athlete caliber…I’m definitely not. But we have our own international *competition we ourselves have to engage in. Our engagement is of spiritual and timeless events and progress. We as followers and worshipers of the Lord have the opportunity to strive towards spiritual growth. We have a world to conquer for the Gospel. We have billions of people who have never heard the gospel… And while OUR FAITH IS NOT WORKS BASED, we have an internal opportunity to pursue the LORD and “Go for Gold,” in our personal walk of faith in Him. We have the opportunity to be trained in righteousness in this life now, to better know our Creator God. We can either pursue Him now, or never. But if we desire to pursue our God only half heartedly now, it would be like an Olympic athlete only training for the games by participating in youth events and training for their specific competitions. Such will not help them in their endeavors in London this summer or at any Olympic games for that matter.
God considers our worship valuable. So, do we? Our worship includes our pursuit of Him, a lifestyle of knowing and glorifying Him, so do we? We have the opportunity to love [Him & others] since He has first loved us. We have the Sacred Truce to pursue Him now, do we really want to be only half hearted?
Enjoy the Olympic games.
Soli deo gloria.