Posted on : Monday March 1, 2010

Byron Day, BCM/D President and Pastor of Emmanuel Church, Laurel, Md.

Byron Day, BCM/D President and Pastor of Emmanuel Church, Laurel, Md.

Finally spring is near and after shoveling more snow this winter than I can ever remember, I am determined to turn my thoughts to warmer weather. The recent completion of the Winter Olympic Games however caused me to reflect on the sacrifice and training of the Olympians. The dedication, discipline and determination of the Olympic athlete commands great admiration. Those who compete in the Olympics seek the highest honor, the greatest glory.

The athletes who choose to compete in an Olympic event spend their entire lives preparing for this moment. They sacrifice going to the movies or skating with their friends in order to train. They get up at 4 o’clock in the morning to train before school or work. They spend years running miles a day. They eat a restricted diet for years in order to mold their bodies into the best shape. Every athlete denies herself of the pleasures and treasures of life in order to focus her entire life around that one competition. Every athlete runs, sweats, he lifts weights, and he pains, and pushes his body to its very limits.

The athletes who compete in the Olympics exercise great earthly discipline, life changing earthly discipline, for an earthly crown and earthly glory. They run for a gold medal, a sneaker endorsement and their picture on a cereal box.

The Olympic competitor reminds me that we discipline ourselves for a far greater reward than a gold medal. We are striving for a heavenly crown.

The apostle Paul after dealing with his own self-denial when it came to preacher’s rights begins now to grant us a view of his purpose in life. He lets the Corinthians know that there is a method to his madness. There is a reason why he suffers these things, the answer is found in verse I Corinthians 9:25 for an imperishable crown. Paul was striving for a heavenly crown.

Paul answers the question, why? Why do I put myself through all of this pain and suffering? Why do I put up with wild animals, robbers, persecution from Jews, and persecution from Gentiles? Sometimes we may find ourselves asking those types of questions. Why do I continue going out witnessing? Why do I keep teaching Sunday school? Why do I keep singing in the choir? Why do I keeping preaching and teaching? The answer is for an imperishable crown. So keep striving for a heavenly crown because there is a crown reserved for all those who remain faithful and love his appearing.