Running as to win the prize

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The Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro has been a great event as more than 11,000 athletes, from 206 countries, have competed in 28 sports.

Young men and women from all over the world have been training for years for the opportunity to win an Olympic medal. The focus of their whole lives has been

on Rio 2016. Their personal event is one tiny moment after thousands of hours in practice, dedication and sacrifice in the hope of achieving glory.

21-year- old Adam Peaty from Staffordshire won the gold medal in the 100 metres men’s breaststroke, breaking his own world record. Adam joined the City of Derby swimming club when he was 14 years old.

His mother got up at 4am to drive him 40 minutes to Derby, where she would sit and wait for 2 hours while he was training. Then she would drive home before going to work as a nursery manager. In the evening she would do it again. She said, “It was really hard going, I’d have given up many a time. Adam never complained about getting up. If I wanted to stay in bed another hour, he’d say, ‘Come on Mum, champions aren’t made in bed!’” When Adam won the Olympic gold medal both he and his Mum felt that all the sacrifices had been worthwhile.

We all need a purpose in our lives; something to aim for. The first question in the Shorter Catechism asks, “What is the chief end of man?” The answer is, “Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever.” The Bible teaches us that we are all created in the image of God in order to enjoy eternal life in heaven with him. We are not an accident of history, a chance event. Death is not the end because every man and woman in this world was created with an eternal soul. So our lives are to be lived with our ultimate goal in mind.

The apostle Paul wrote, “Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better.”