A Gathering Of Champions

by Tim Hall

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“The Games Of The XXIX Olympiad” is the official title; we know them as the 2008 Summer Olympic Games. Hosting this year’s affair is China, and Beijing is the focal site. Making this year’s event more intriguing is that the opening is set for August 8, 2008 – 08/08/08 – at 8:08 p.m. (China time).

The Summer Olympics captures the world’s attention as few sporting events can. The competition only happens every four years, bringing together the world’s best athletes. Only a few capture the limelight of glory. The rest go home with shattered dreams or unfulfilled expectations.

But each competitor is a champion. To wear the colors of your home country is an honor for which thousands sacrifice much. Through a series of qualifying contests the best are selected, and on these the hopes of a nation are pinned. Just to be an Olympian means one has performed exceedingly well.

You don’t have to travel to China to witness a gathering of champions, though. Just attend an assembly of the saints where you live. Before you scoff at such a statement, hear Paul’s assessment of Christians in Romans 8:37: “Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us” (NKJV). Every Christian, according to the apostle, is more than a conqueror.

To appreciate this, consider another in the Bible who was a champion, Goliath. Few would have disputed that title based on his size alone. Added to that was his experience at warfare. He was outfitted with fearsome weapons and defenses, and he knew how to use them. The soldiers of Israel cowered in fear when Goliath challenged Israel to settle their differences with Philistia through a one-on-one match. Who would want to take on such a giant?

We all know the outcome. In one of the most lopsided-looking confrontations ever, the underdog, David, defeated the giant. His success was due not to his superior skill or weaponry. He owed it all to God, the one who empowered him to face Goliath. Goliath was a champion, but David was more than a conqueror because God was on his side. (Read 1 Samuel 17 for all the details).

Now let’s return to that assembly. You’re not likely to see many Goliaths in the crowd. Paul saw the same in his day: “… not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things of the mighty” (1 Corinthians 1:26,27). No, you won’t see many Goliaths in this assembly, but you will see ordinary people whom God empowers to do amazing things.

Enjoy the Olympics. You’ll see highly skilled champions at their finest. But to see the finest champions on earth, be among the saints this Lord’s day.

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