Friday 5th August 2016 sees the commencement of the XXXI Olympiad in Rio. Often labeled “The Greatest Show on Earth” many stories will be written in the next two weeks. There will be stories of triumph and disaster, of disappointment and elation, of the underdog winning and the favourite being defeated, of moments of glory and actions of disgrace. There are of course already stories before the events have commenced, the concerns over Zika virus, outrage that cost equates to £9 Billion in a country where poverty is widespread, and the battle against drugs in sport.
Every four years, when the Olympic Games take place, the venue, the winners, the heroes and the stories will change, but a constant feature will be the Olympic flame. This is lit at the opening ceremony and stays lit throughout the duration of the games. It is a visible reminder for all to see that competition is taking place, with athletes competing under oath “for the glory of sport and the honour of our teams”.
It must be a great honour to represent a nation, and compete under the traditions of the Olympic ethos and under the light of the Olympic flame, but there is the possibility that as we perhaps get engrossed in this event over the next two weeks (or not, as the case may be) there is higher honour to attain.
Jesus said to his followers in the Gospel of Matthew Chapter 5 v 14 (The Bible),
“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your father in Heaven.”
The greatest honour is not to represent a nation in a sporting arena, but to represent Christ on earth. That is the privilege and responsibility of every Christian. Paul, in 2 Corinthians Chapter 5 v 20 (The Bible) reminds us that we are “Christ’s ambassadors (representatives)”. Our lives should shine brightly, in the same way, the Olympic flame burns brightly over the Olympic stadium, for the glory of our Father in heaven.
Over the next two weeks, if you watch any of the events, you will witness athletes who have given their all physically, mentally and often financially and socially for years to reach this point, to represent their nation and compete.
What is our dedication to the call of Jesus Christ, to let our light shine before men to bring glory to our Father in Heaven?