By Kelly Carr
When I was in junior high, my softball team came in first in our league and headed to the city tournament. During the semifinals, I hit a grand-slam home run to win the game. During the final, I went 4-4 (four times up to bat and four hits), and we won the city tournament. I was named to the all-star team, and my team headed to Kentucky’s illustrious Bluegrass State Games. We came in third and received bronze medals for our effort.
What victories! What fun! But Dad’s joke came true—I never again accomplished as much in sports as I had that year. Competition got stronger, my determination lagged, and I moved to other interests. My softball career had peaked in junior high.
I admire the talent people have in any sport. (Talent that far surpasses my small achievements!) Natural ability plus hard work has astounding results. It takes being focused over the long haul to make it happen. We especially see this every four years at the Olympics. The tedious training athletes have done in relative obscurity suddenly gets presented on an international stage.
Considering athletes’ hard work, discipline, and long-term focus, it’s no wonder that we find several athletic metaphors in the Bible. Similarly, Christians must also incorporate hard work, discipline, and long-term focus to live for Christ.
As we cheer for athletes giving their all in the Olympic Games, let’s apply that same dedication to our spiritual race. As we see the abundance of flags representing so many countries, let’s recall that we are teammates with Christians from every tongue, tribe, and nation, all working toward eternal life as our prize. And as we watch the Olympic competitions, let’s allow them to infuse us with energy and the reminder to keep pressing on with fervor in our spiritual journeys.