The 2012 London Olympics are finally upon us after years of careful planning and preparation. Certainly there have been one or two hiccups along the way, but the overwhelming view at the start of these games is that everything has been well prepared and those responsible deserve our heartiest congratulations.
Of course, alongside the work to deliver the various venues, individual athletes have been doing their own preparations, each following a very carefully developed training regime. Whilst most everyone considers it a great privilege and honour to be chosen to represent their country in a particular event, what each one is really after is to be a medal winner – particularly a gold medal winner.
It’s worth pausing to consider for a moment, their goal and the effort they have expended to achieve that goal. According to the bible, the work put in by athletes preparing to compete in the games has much to teach us about the way less athletic mortals should go about living our routine lives.
Importance of Life Goals
For a start, it seems to be a dreadful waste of a God-given life if we don’t have any worthwhile goals. An aimless life is very unlikely to achieve anything worthwhile and certainly doesn’t produce any lasting satisfaction.
The words of the apostle Paul are intriguing when he wrote to the church that was in the city of Phillipi, saying:
“I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. (Php 3:10-11)”
Paul had a goal in life that few of us have ever even considered and yet it is available to every one of us. That goal is the “resurrection from the dead”.
There’s More than this Life
You might think this life is all there is and when you die you cease to exist forever. Actually this and other similar views are only guesswork or opinion without any substantial evidence. Paul’s goal was based on what he understood to be a direct revelation from God. Although you are free to dismiss that evidence, you have to admit that it is better than pure guesswork. Not only so, but the aim Paul had is of much greater worth than thinking that you will end up as a pile of ashes or a meal for the worms.
Paul was so committed to this goal, that no price was too great to achieve it. That’s another lesson we learn from Olympic athletes. They are prepared to forgo anything attractive about this life if it distracts them in any way from their primary objective of winning gold.
Eternal Life is a Reality
Actually, Paul was not just aiming for some vague hope, he knew quite a lot about what awaited him. Take, for example what he has to say to the church at Corinth:
“Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. (2Co 5:1)”
Paul was prepared to lose his life on this earth because he knew that God had prepared something much better for him.
This wasn’t merely the musing of a young man who had never really thought about dying. Even toward the end of his life, Paul was still full of anticipation and still willing to commit the whole of his life to achieving his goal. When anticipating his imminent death, he wrote to Timothy, his young helper, describing it this way:
“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. (2Ti 4:8)”
Eternal Life is for Everyone
Notice what Paul was saying to Timothy. He was looking forward to a stupendous reward when his life in this world came to a end but, unlike the Olympic Games, there was not just a single winner. This prize is available to anyone and everyone who has a longing to see the return of the resurrected Jesus Christ.
If you feel that life has no meaning and that there is no purpose or goal that is worth pursuing, then perhaps you need to consider the words of the apostle Paul. And not just Paul, there are millions of people around the world who are also looking forward to the same goal and are allowing it to dominate their lives.
Why not seek out some of them and learn more. Set your life on track to achieve the greatest goal of all and live the most fulfilled life it is possible to live.