These Olympics in Rio have been absolutely fantastic. History has been made in so many events, by so many athletes. Among the most historic have been the super-human achievements of Michael Phelps in the pool, and Usain Bolt on the track. Both men have been just mesmerizing to watch.
In the pool, South African Chad le Clos notably fell to the legendary Michael Phelps by focusing too much on upsetting his rival. He instead lost to Phelps, badly, not even making podium in his last-ever race against him. Phelps, for his part, stayed focused on the prize, focused on the finish. And added to his already record number of gold medals.
On the track, Jamaican legend Usain Bolt solidified his place in history by claiming gold in the 100m, 200m, and the 4 x 100m relay, for the third consecutive Olympics. He well-deserves the title, “Fastest Human in History”, and is such a colorful, and honorable, athlete and person. The sheer joy and abandon he runs with, definitely demonstrates what Eric Liddell expressed decades ago, in similar Olympic events- “When I run, I feel His (God’s) pleasure.”
What is also notable is how badly Bolt humiliated the USA runners, in every event. Or rather, how the American runners humiliated themselves against him. Based on interviews, pre and post events, it’s as though all the American teams could think about, and focus on, was defeating Bolt. He was the prize, not the gold, not the finish line. Bolt, however, stayed focused on the finish in each race, focused on the goal of gold. And he won, every time, in spectacular fashion.
So often in our daily lives, we get focused on the wrong things as well. Comparing ourselves to others, on what we think we deserve, on what they have that we should, causes us to lose focus on what’s really important, on how our own race should be run. And we lose out on God’s best for us, by taking our eyes off Him, and looking at those around us.
Scripture speaks to us clearly about this, in Hebrews 12:1-2-
“Since we are surrounded by such a great crowd of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders us, and the sins that so easily entangle us, and let us run with endurance the race that is marked out for us- fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith…”
It’s all about focus. Who or what are you focused on? May we each run our own race, fixing our eyes on Christ, on the finish line, and not on those who are around us. Keep your eyes on the true prize- the “upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14