Rio de Janeiro summer Olympic games are exciting.  Joann and I have spent a lot of time watching.  We are amazed by the talent and strength of the athletics.  At what a cost.  These men and women have beat their bodies into submission.  They have disciplined themselves to be physically and mentally fit to participate in the games. Their dream and ambition is to win. They have paid a heavy price to be able to stand on the platform to receive a medal. What a sacrifice of body, mind and time to WIN.

A great illustration of this is from the 1968 Mexico City Olympics.  Mamo Waldi of Ethiopia had won the 26 mile, 385 yard race.  As the last few thousand spectators began preparing to leave, they heard police sirens and whistles through the gate entering the stadium.  The attention turned to that gate.  A sole figure, wearing the colors of Tanzania, came limping into the stadium.  He name was John Steven Aquari.  He was the last man to finish the marathon in 1968. His leg was bandaged, bloody.  He had taken a bad fall early in the race. Now, it was all he could do to limp his way around the track. The crowd stood and applauded as he completed that last lap.
When he finally crossed the finish line, one man dared ask the question all were wondering. “You are badly inured.  Why didn’t you quit?  Why didn’t you give up?”  Aquari, with quiet dignity said, “My country did not send me seven thousand miles to start this race. My country sent me to finish.”

Listen to the Apostle Paul as is written in I Corinthians 9: 24-27: “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.  Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air.  No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that  after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.”

Every runner expects to win. So, they train, discipline themselves in order to obtain this medal.  All for a prize that perishes or is soon forgotten.  THIS IS NOT OUR RACE.  We as Christians seek for that eternal crown.  Our every effort is to WIN IN THE END.  We want to hear our Heavenly Father say, “Well done, enter into the joy of your Lord.”

We run for God’s approval.  We are already winners for Jesus paid our price in His sacrifice on Calvary.  Our task is just to continue faithfully following Jesus,   He will take us HOME.  Keep on running the race of  life for eternal life.

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