In a national political campaign it seems like anything goes as long as you cross the finishing line first. In the Olympic Games in Brazil, the debate was raging about athletes who have been willing to do whatever it takes to walk away with a gold medal. In sports arenas around the world there are players feigning injury, falling over and manipulating matches. Coaches tampering with things on the touchline. Officials accepting bribes to influence the outcome.
The philosophy: it’s all about winning – at all costs!
The Bible says this is too high a price to pay.
Most of us are familiar with Eric Liddell, the Christian athlete featured in the movie Chariots of Fire. Certainly he enjoyed great success on earth but he always knew his greater reward was in heaven. That’s why he elevated biblical priorities. A man of prayer and integrity, he was always committed to do his best – then trust the Lord to take care of the rest.
Liddell often shared this quote that inspired him: “In the dust of defeat, as well as the laurels of victory, there is glory to be found if one has done his best.”
Like Paul’s letter to the Philippians, our responsibility is to do our best – to press on toward the goal, to win the prize, for which God has called us heavenward in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:14). Every earthly pursuit ought to bear fruit from a heavenly perspective, but that means our success is measured by a different standard.
Did you know some look at certain aspects of Paul’s ministry and brand it a failure? For example, they look at his ministry in Athens and say, “where’s the fruit of his ministry? Paul didn’t start a church or make much of an impact! There’s no 1st and 2nd Athenians in the New Testament!”
Instead, I read these words and smile:
“…a few men became followers of Paul and believed. Among them was Dionysius, a member of the Areopagus [Greek council in Athens], also a woman named Damaris, and a number of others.” Acts 17:34
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