The Olympic Spirit

Once again I find myself captivated by the Olympic Games. There is something about seeing representatives from 200+ countries (and this ymo-victoryear a team of refugees) all together in one place that makes me think of how wonderfully varied our world is, and how amazing it is that people can be drawn together in this way. What has particularly stood out to me this year is the competitors talking about the years of hard work and sacrifice that have gone into getting them ready. Some have spoken about training towards this moment for 8 years or more. And it got me thinking about what qualities the medal winners have that make them the best in the world. I am sure you can probably think of your own list, but these are some that have struck me, and that encourage me to think about my own journey of faith.

  • They know what they are good at and they train to get better at it – one of the women’s judo champions had tried 5 different sports before she settled on judo, but once she did that and focused on her training she has become the best! We are all good at something, but it is often hard not to compare ourselves with others and to want to be good at something different. But it is important to value the gift(s) that we have and to develop them, that way we make the contribution that is uniquely ours to make. Romans 12.4-8 talks about how we each offer a different gift and encourages us to use them well.
  • They persevere – the GB team pursuit cyclists talked about how they hadn’t won any competitions in the last 4 years, but they kept going, working on changing and improving the smallest things, even removing their rings when they cycled, training long days and even through holidays. They won the gold in a tense final that saw them behind until a last huge effort pushed them into the winning time. 2 Peter 1.5-7 says make every effort to add to your faith, and one of the things to add is perseverance. Life and faith are not straightforward and the ability to keep going through the tough times, to keep trusting in the goodness of God can be a huge challenge. We need to encourage each other to keep going, to persevere.
  • They fix their eyes on the goal – winning a medal at the Olympics dominates the thinking of the competitors for years. Mo Farah talks about dreaming as a child about winning an Olympic medal, he won nothing in 2008, another 4 years of training led to great success in London 2012 and now again in Rio 2016, but his eyes had been fixed on the medal for a long time. Hebrews 12.2-3 talks about fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. Considering all Jesus has done for us helps us not to grow weary and lose heart.

We’d love to hear your faith lessons from the Olympics – what has it made you think about?

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