Running To Win

The Olympic track and field competition currently underway. We will surely see much joy and sadness among the competitors as they win or lose, but none of them will show any more spirit and courage than an athlete who will be a very minor footnote in the 100 meter dash, the race that crowns “The World’s Fastest Man.” 

A Palestinian runner named Mohammed Abu Khousa, age 22, had little chance to win. His best times are about 1 second behind the elite, an eternity in a 10 second race. He gained to right to run in the main stage only by placing in a qualifying race. Unfortunately he hurt his hamstring in doing so.

Given the chance to race the world’s best on the world’s biggest stage, Modhammed ran injured, with both legs heavily taped. His pain could be seen from his first step out of the block. Far behind the others, he nearly stumbled, but continued and finished far behind the rest. After the race he was unable to walk off the track and was carried away by the medical staff. He couldn’t win, he could barely compete, but he could give it his all. 

The admonition for Christians is “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men” (Col. 3:23) The sacrificial determination of the worst timed sprinter in the Olympic stadium is a lesson for us all.  

Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. And everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.  —    1 Corinthians 9:24,25