Gold Silver or Bronze

The 2016 Summer Olympic Games, this year known as the 31st Olympiad, will come to a close in a few days.  It has been a joy to watch the world class athletes competing for their respective countries.  I am proud to say the US has won more than its share of medals – gold, silver and bronze.  Just last night I watched Jenny Simpson become the first American female to medal in the 1500 meter race (about a mile) winning bronze.

One of the last events will be the men’s marathon.  It will be run on Sunday. Being a recreational runner myself I enjoy watching the running events.  Perhaps you are aware the marathon had its origin in ancient Greece when the runner, Pheidippides, ran the 25 miles from Marathon to Athens to announce the Grecian victory over Persia in the Battle of Marathon (the year 490 BC).  Upon his arrival he proclaimed the victory with the Greek word nikomen (translated “we win”)!  Unfortunately legend has it that he then collapsed and died.

I remember as a young man participating in those track meets and the pride I felt when I would win an award.  Oh and I still have the same feeling when I participate in running events now.  But at my age the only chance I have of winning anything now is occasionally placing in my age group.

Paul speaks of running a race in 1 Corinthians 9:24.  And he notes that there is only one winner.  The Hebrew writer encourages us to run the race that is set before us. (Hebrews 12:1)  Of course the text is using the race as a metaphor for life.

As much as the gold, silver, bronze, or trophies might mean now.  The real prize awaits the faithful Christian as we read in Revelation 2:10 “…be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.” Now that is the real prize.  That is the ultimate crown.

In a sense the battle between good and evil has already been fought and the victory claimed.

Revelation 17:14 notes “These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them…”

The word overcome has the same origin in the Greek as the phrase Pheidippides used.  The word is a key word in the study of the Revelation.  It is the Greek word nikao.  It means to overcome, to get the victory.  Our modern athletic apparel company Nike gets its name from here.

But to the faithful child of GOD the comfort is this.  The outcome has already been determined.  And the victory proclaimed.  Good will win.  Righteousness will triumph.  The Lamb will be victorious.

The only question is, will I be on the winning team?  Be faithful until death.

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