Devotional article for The Greybull Standard
and The Republican Rustler
Some thoughts brought about by not following the Olympics
I have not followed the Olympics; although I am coming to terms with no longer being by any means a young man, I have no need to be reminded of how much I am not that, and how much younger than myself even the “veteran” athletes are.
Nevertheless, I am aware that the Olympics have been taken place; mostly from the news coverage regarding the behaviour of some of the athletes – which has served as another reminder that being successful and celebrated in the world is not what life is all about, and might, in fact, not be good for a person at all.
The Olympics also remind me of what the holy Apostle Paul writes, that “every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.” Now, it does seem to be yet another memory from ages past that “every athlete exercises self-control in all things”. That is not the point, though, but rather that there is a more glorious prize to win than that which comes with being successful and celebrated, and perhaps at the cost of never learning what it means to make life worthwhile by living a decent life in service to God and to others.
For those who know God, this is the goal of life: not to be celebrated by the world, but rather to be celebrated by God Himself and “receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love Him”, as James, servant of God and the Lord Jesus Christ, writes it.
A Christian knows that it is neither fame nor fortune that makes life to be worthwhile. Holy Scripture teaches the value of a peaceful and quiet life in love and care for those whom God has entrusted to your care, that it is in a such life that you realise yourself and fulfil your purpose.
And the Olympics finally remind me of the greater truth, of which the Apostle Paul also writes, that “it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy”. God promises the crown of life freely and for nothing to us sinners, and has Himself paid the price for us to win this prize, in the sufferings and death of His beloved Son under His judgement for our sins and shortcomings.
So good and so great is He whom we live to serve. And knowing this, we also know that despite all our faults and failures, it is well worth the while to serve Him by living in His love, under His Word and worship, and have His salvation given to us, and to serve Him by living out His love in love and care for others in the life He has entrusted to us.
Pastor Jais H. Tinglund
Grace Lutheran Church, Greybull/Zion Lutheran Church, Emblem