Sport is good, but Jesus is better!

Image: Sport is good, but Jesus is better!

Did you see these Olympians declare their faith?

So, the Olympics have come to an end for another four years. What were your highlights? Australia (my country) hasn’t done too bad at all, finishing 10th overall. Wherever you come from, we should be proud of all our athletes and the hard work they have invested in pursuing their athletic dreams.

I've been quite stunned, pleasantly so, at how many of the Olympic medal winners have talked about their faith in God. I don’t recall as many in the past. 

The Ancient Olympics were clearly religious festivals with sacrifice and worship to the pantheon of Greek gods.  The Modern Olympics are a celebration of humanism at its best, yet, the spiritual realm is still seen as an inescapable core of what it means to be human. In a society that seems intent to remove God from the public domain, these Games have reminded us that such a notion is fool-hardy.

There is quite a list of competitors who have praised God or media have made reference to their Christian faith in the midst of competition, with some being:

  • Kip Keino at opening ceremony
  • Wayde Van Niekerk (Sth Africa 400 m athletics Gold)
  • Allyson Felix (USA athletics 400 m Silver)
  • Simone Manuel (US swimming Goldx2)
  • Simone Biles (USA gymnastics Goldx4)
  • Gabby Douglas (USA gymnastics Gold)
  • David Boudia and Steele Johnson (US synchronised diving silver)
  • Shaunae Miller (Bahamas athletics 400 m Gold)
  • Fiji Rugby Sevens team
  • Matthew Glaetzer (Aust cycling).
  • Usain Bolt has also signalled his identification with Jesus and this is supported by sources close to him.
  • There are many other Christian athletes who are competing who are not mentioned here.

One of the highlights was the scene of the 5000m runners, Abbey D’Agostino from the US and Nikki Hamblin from New Zealand. They tripped over each other but exhibited great kindness and the Olympic spirit but stopping to help each other. It appears that Abbey, who blew out her knee with a serious Anterior Cruciate Ligament injury, is a Christian who was able to demonstrate her faith not in victory but when coming last, in her weakness not her strength:

“I think that the qualities that people see as heroic and altruistic, those come from God,” she said. “I’m glad he’s chosen me to be an instrument of that and react that way in that moment.”

The common thing which these athletes who have placed their faith in Jesus share is their view: "For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come." ( 1 Timothy 4:8)

While we learn that the pursuit of excellence in sport and life is important, it is not not all important. It is what will last for eternity which is of ultimate value.

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