Today, 5 August 2016, the Olympic Games will begin at the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro. As many as 38 stadia in and around Rio will host 28 different games. More than 10,000 sportspersons from 200 countries will compete in the games, at which 306 gold medals are at stake. India has sent a contingent of 120 people and we have great expectations from them.
Leave alone the Olympics, today’s life itself has evolved into a daily race. We are forced to treat every moment, every event, every task, as if were running a race of our own. How much we struggle to win that race! And if we happen to lose it, how depressed do we feel!
In the Bible, in several contexts, human life has been regarded as a kind of race or competition. While running any race, it is important to focus on what lies ahead and not keep looking back. Jesus himself had said that no one who puts a hand to the plough and then looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God. (Luke 9:62)
St Paul, while expanding the same theme, had said, “But one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:13-14)
And Paul elaborates the need for self-discipline even further, saying, “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.” (1 Corinthians 9:24-25)
To sum it up, Paul says, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store 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 longed for his appearing.” (2 Timothy 4:7-8)