By REV. LUNA L. DINGAYAN
“I do not claim that I have already succeeded or have already become perfect. I keep striving to win the prize for which Christ Jesus has already won me to himself.” – Philippians 3:12
The Beijing Olympics
Our participation in the on-going Beijing Olympics mirrors our society. The inability of our athletes even just to go beyond the qualifying rounds speaks well of our country and people. If the Olympics would serve as a standard to measure the level of our nation’s human development, then we could say that there is so much to be desired. It is not only in terms of the level of our athletes’ preparation, but also in terms of our government’s support for sports development. Our government’s misplaced priorities had been clearly shown in the dismal failures of our athletes to obtain medals in the Beijing Olympics.
Of course, our sports officials try to justify their failures and console themselves by saying that the mere fact that our athletes were able to pass the qualifying games to participate in the Olympics is victory enough. But this is not the kind of attitude needed to win the elusive gold medal.
Perhaps, Apostle Paul had the Olympics of the ancient Greco-Roman world in mind when he likened Christian life to an athlete who is running a race. He said in his letter to the Philippians, “I do not claim that I have already succeeded or have already become perfect. I keep striving to win the prize for which Christ Jesus has already won me to himself” (Phil. 3:12).
These words of Apostle Paul give us some hints on the kind of attitude needed to win the much coveted Olympics gold medal. To win the prize, we should not rest on our laurels. We should not claim that we have already succeeded. We must keep striving.
A sports story
In 1896, Athens renewed the Olympics after fifteen centuries, thus fulfilling the dream of Baron Pierre de Coubertin of France. The Greeks were so proud to host the first modern Olympics. But they were so disappointed, because of their athletes’ lack of success event after event.
The last competition was the marathon. And Greece’s entrant was named Louis, a shepherd without competitive background. He had trained alone in the hills near his flock. When the race started, Louis was far back in the pack of marathoners. But as the miles passed, he moved up steadily. One by one the leaders began to falter. The Frenchman fell in agony. The hero from the United States had to quit the race. Soon, word reached the stadium that a lone runner was approaching the arena, and the emblem of Greece was on his chest! As the excitement grew, Prince George of Greece hurried to the stadium entrance where he met Louis and ran with him to the finish line.
A lesson to learn
We have something to learn from this Olympics sports story. Those who have achieved in life are those who have learned to strive with determination amid hardships and difficulties. Perhaps, our future Olympics gold medalist is in the obscure places of our land waiting to be discovered, places where sufferings and struggles of life are the daily experiences of people, places where years of government neglect force people to chart their own future and shape their own destiny. What is simply needed is to provide our people in those places genuine opportunity to achieve. #