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Honor and Glory

The Olympics in Athens has come and gone. I watched athletes as they tried to make that one perfect performance for which they have trained for all their lives. Why? They’ve been told to go for the gold, to bring honor to themselves and glory to their country. No matter what event it is, one slip of the hand, one shuffle of the feet, one misalignment of the body, and one can go from a gold medal performance to a no medal performance. I watched athletes proudly gazing at their country’s flag rising as they stood erect at the winners stand after receiving their medals.

That is the moment of honor and glory; besides the gold, silver, or bronze medals, each winner was crowned with an olive-leaf crown this year. The same crown is mentioned in 1 Corinthians 9:25,

“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.(NIV)

Well, besides that crowning moment of honor and glory, besides the medal, besides the crown, what else does the Olympic athlete hope for? Sporting goods companies signing them on to be their spokesperson, commercial contracts, interviews, ultimately fame and fortune. That’s the payoff they are hoping for from years of discipline and hard work. Those shooting stars certainly do shine brightly for a moment, but after a few months, how many of us will remember Paul Hamm, Bo Peng, or Kyle Shewfelt?

What is the incentive for us to pursue the imperishable crown of glory that cannot be seen nor touched during this lifetime? It seems so far away, so intangible, so dare I say, useless! I am sorry to say we are human beings who are bound by this physical world, attracted to the finer things in life, and fueled by the praise of men. That still small voice seems so distant, so faint, and so hard to hear. Yet if we stop and pause long enough to listen, we discover that our Heavenly Father is trying to tell us something infinitely more valuable than anything we can see. “I LOVE YOU!” He is not far away. He is empowering us as we try to reflect His glory and tell of His love. He encourages and comforts us when we are weak. He is cheering us on and ensuring us with promises such as I will never leave you nor forsake you.

His constant abiding with us is the reason for us to run in such a way so as to win that race. The material things in this world can please our senses momentarily, but only the spiritual fellowship in Christ can truly satisfy our souls! That imperishable crown will be given to those of us who ran faithfully when we meet Him face to face. It will be His way of saying, I am proud of you, my child. Good job. This is the moment, this is the honor, this is the crown that we should all be striving for, for it will last for all eternity.

(Ms. Judi Chow is the missionary facilitator of CCM International responsible for caring and counseling missionaries.)

Article Link: http://ccmusa.org/read/read.aspx?id=chg20050106
To reuse online, please credit Challenger, Jan-Mar 2005. CCMUSA.