The Olympic games will close today. Watching the games has been terrific. Having them in Athens this year has made it especially dynamic. I really admire the athletes, their skill and their ability, but more than that the dedication which leads to their success.

I especially like to the international character of the games. The names are fascinating. Where else do you hear such names with such an international flavor.

Paul may or may not have known about these games. He definitely knew and wrote about athletic competition. As a matter of fact, at the end of his life he used a sports analogy to describe what he’d accomplished. In 2Timothy 4:7 he writes, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.” In years past this would have been, admittedly, a guy thing. Today’s women’s events have made it the same challenge.

Paul reminds us not to set our sights so low. In the games this year, the Athens brought back the wreath as a symbol of victory as in New Testament times. Paul makes the point that winning the wreath isn’t the whole deal. He writes, “They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.” (1Corinthians 9:25)

He reminds us that it is a spiritual battle. The real winners will be those who run to Jesus.