Is it really all about winning?
As we come to the end of the Olympic Games, I have been reflecting on what it takes to win. It’s not just what happens out on the field on the day of the event, whatever that event might be.
What we see in the arena, on the track or in the pool is probably only around 1 percent of what the competitor has gone through even to reach the Olympic Games, without winning anything.
The marathon and 10,000 meters are the longest races, with the marathon taking hours to complete. The shortest race in the games, the 100 meter sprint is over in seconds. Just like the marathon the sprint still takes years of practice and training, It’s not just about speed but reaction and technique too, all things that take time to perfect until they become not just reactive but instinctive.
Training for the 100 meters is no less demanding, intensive and exhausting than that for the marathon. Athletes practice day-after-day. They can’t take a day off, like most of us, if they want to give their best. They train on holidays and often Christmas day too. They are careful about what they eat while most of us eat what we like.
To become a successful athlete takes perseverance and endurance, not just in an event but in the days, months and years of training leading up to an event, like the Olympic Games.
The Bible also talks about a race, in the book of Acts and then a few more times in Paul’s letters. This race though is not about speed or winning, at least not in the commonly understood meaning of winning in our modern world. Paul’s idea of winning is completing a task. A task set for him by God.
Each of our individual races, like Pauls race, requires no less perseverance and endurance than that of athletes. Paul suffered for his belief. He endured travel, not easy in his time as it is today. He endured prison and he persevered in his task no less than modern athletes.
“And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”