08/08/08

That’s the day the Beijing Olympics will kick off, touted to be the best ever in Olympic history. About 10,500 athletes from 205 countries will be competing in 302 events in 28 sports. Desperately wanting the Olympics to showcase its 21st century superpower status, China invested so much in its preparation. The gargantuan Beijing National Stadium alone costs US$423 million. The opening ceremony itself will highlight 15,000 performers, making it the most spectacular event to be seen worldwide.

Here in the Philippines, the reward for the athlete who would bag the first Olympic gold medal is expected to go even beyond P15 million. Also, a brand-new Toyota Vios will be given to every athlete who would win a silver or gold medal. Those incentives are said to be the biggest ever offered in history! (Though some athletes confessed it only added to the pressure. They would rather focus on winning the gold medal first.) The highest we got so far was a silver medal. When he won a silver medal in the Atlanta Olympics in 1996, Filipino boxer Mansueto “Onyok” Velasco received a house and lot, a brand new car and millions in cash gifts. What a long way to go from the ancient Olympics where the victors got a wild olive wreath!

1 Corinthians 9:25 tell us, “Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.” (NIV) The cash windfall will soon be spent. The applause will soon fade. The victory parade will soon become a memory. The gold medal itself will tarnish. The worldly crown will not last. But the reward that awaits us in heaven for what we have done for the Lord will last forever. I am not talking about salvation. Eternal life is a gift, not a reward (Romans 6:23). The reward has to do with what we believers have done for Him. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.” (2 Corinthians 5:10) Our salvation is based on Christ’s work on the cross. Our reward is based on our work for Him. Unlike in the Olympics, every believer has a chance to receive a reward. That’s an eternal windfall!

Brethren, go for the crown!

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