by Fletcher Lowe
In the recently concluded 2016 Rio Olympics USA members David Boudia and Steele Johnson won the silver medal in men’s synchronized platform diving. “We both know our identity is in Christ,” Boudia, 26, told NBC. Johnson, 20, added, “Going into this event knowing that my identity is rooted in Christ and not the result of this competition just gave me peace. And it let me enjoy the contest. God’s given us a cool opportunity….”
The Bible’s Letter to the Hebrews states: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses …let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus who is the pioneer and perfecter of our faith…. “
Although their sport was diving, Boadia and Steele were both running with Jesus. That is the continuous call for each of us as a Christian – “How am I running with Jesus?” To continue the analogy, every athlete has a goal. In interview after interview, Olympians expressed their various goals. Ours as followers of Christ is to look to Jesus who is the pioneer and perfecter of our faith….
We have our track, our race course – our daily lives of home, community, and work. How am I running with Jesus in my home – as I wash or clean or garden or access the internet or the TV channels or relate to my housemates? In the community, how am I running with Jesus as I volunteer in the school or library or nursing home or hospital? What about my connection with my neighbors or friends? And at work, how am I running with Jesus as I relate to my fellow workers, as I analyze a budget, or work in a team or design a program?
Now our race course of life is not the quarter-mile flat track of the Olympic stadium. It is rather like a cross country course with hills and valleys, rough and smooth places, deserts and fertile grounds. Jesus never promised us a rose garden, but he did to say that he would be with us even to the ends of the earth. “I am with you always….” So we never run alone. Not only are we not running alone, but we have our cheering section – a great cloud of witnesses including the vast community of saints from Peter and Paul to Mother Teresa and Pope Francis to our fellow Christians in our congregations and community.
After her victory in the women’s 110-meter hurdles in the Olympics, Brianna Rollins said that she joined with others that morning for some prayer time – and left it with God to carry her forward. That prayer time was focusing on her goal – “looking to Jesus” – as she saw God shaping her life as a runner. She knew, as she engaged her real world of the 110 meter hurdles that she was not running alone and that she had her cheering section supporting her.
So with each of us. We have our race course – our daily lives; our cheering section – a great cloud of witnesses; our goal – looking to Jesus. The question remains: how are we running with Jesus?