These Olympic athletes are amazing, aren’t they?
Gabby Douglas. Missy Franklin. Michael Phelps. Allyson Felix.
I can’t even imagine what they felt when they stood on that platform with the medal around their necks as they played our national anthem.
You’ve seen the interviews.
“It was surreal.”
I don’t want to diminish their achievements at all—I couldn’t be more proud of what our athletes accomplished—but I can’t help but think about something better.
Paul—winner of not a single Olympic sport—wrote this shortly before he died.
For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing (2 Timothy 4:6-8).
I’m pretty sure Paul liked sports—he used them often in his writings.
But he recognized that one crown, one wreath, one award, is worth more than all the others. Shortly after he wrote those verses he stood on the platform and received his medal.
Over time the gold, silver, and bronze will lose their value.
The media smother the athletes now, but they’ll soon move on to the next superstar.
All the interviews, pictures, and endorsements must be overwhelming, but not for long. The world is already looking toward the next sport, the next election, the next big thing.
There’s always something next.
Quick question: who won gold in the men’s 200 meter butterfly in Sydney twelve years ago?
I didn’t either, but the answer is Tom Malchow (I looked it up).
Better yet, can you name a single gold winner from the 2000 Olympics (without looking)?
Here’s my point: it’s glorious, it’s wonderful, it’s breathtaking, it’s surreal, and then it’s gone.
The crown that Jesus will place on your head?
The medal God will put over your neck?
They’ll never tarnish, they’ll never lose their value, and they’ll never be stolen.
You and I won’t stand on a platform in Rio four years from now.
But it won’t be long before we stand on a bigger stage in front of a bigger crowd with eternity in the balance, and we’ll look Jesus in the eye when he crowns us with gold.
Our athletes stockpiled the medals these past two weeks, but they can’t even begin to compare to the one we’ll get very soon.