Rules

I really dislike the opening and closing ceremonies of the Olympics, but I admit loving the competition itself.
I was touched Sunday night by Carly Patterson, the gold-medal winner for the women’s all-around competition. She took time to encourage her teammate by sitting by her side, helping chalk-up the uneven parallel bars, and talking her through her routine.
I was touched by Michael Phelps who gave up his place in the swimming relay race to Ian Crocker. Crocker had finished just behind Phelps in a race. Phelps had won seven medals and was set to win his eighth, tying the all-time record for medals won in any Olympics. He gave up his place so that Crocker could be on a gold-winning team. Phelps still won his gold in the race, because he was on the preliminary team, but he opened the way for his friend to shine.
I learned that 2 Timothy 2:5 is still true. “And also if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not win the prize unless he competes according to the rules.”
An American sharpshooter was far ahead in the standings. Though he shot a perfect bull’s-eye, he shot it on the wrong target and could not get credit for his shooting.
Russia’s Irina Korzhanenko was stripped of her shot put gold medal, the first athlete of the Athens Games to lose an Olympic title because of doping. Korzhanenko, the first woman to win a gold medal at the sacred site of Ancient Olympia, tested positive for steroids.
The only Olympics that really matters is the one we run for God. Paul said, “Run in such a way that you may win. And everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. … Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I buffet my body and make it my slave, lest possibly, after I have preached to others, I myself should be disqualified” (1 Corinthians 9:25-27).

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Phil Sanders

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