Gold! That’s all that is on their minds right now. They swim for it, run for it, shoot for it and jump for it! Each athlete has singleness of purpose and a focus to do their best in the Olympics. I don’t know about you, but at our house we are glued to the television each night as we watch with anticipation and delight to see the athletes compete and go for the coveted gold medal.
Just as the athletes have singleness in purpose for their event, we too as followers of Christ have an eternal singleness of purpose. Paul wrote to the Corinthian church, “Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.” (I Corinthians 9:24 – 27)
The writer of Hebrews gives us another illustration of the race we are running, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith, Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.” (Hebrews 12:1, 2)
What keeps the Olympic athlete going? Her eyes are on the gold. What keeps us going? Our eyes are on Jesus, who gave his life for us. He loves us and forgives us and equips us for the journey. The Olympics offer us a great opportunity to talk with our kids about our eternal goal and honoring Christ with our life. Just as an Olympic athlete represents his or her country, so we represent Christ. May we live lives of singular purpose as we love the Lord our God with all of our heart, mind, soul and strength.