God’s foolishness outshines Olympic gold
It is August 2008. There are a lot of exciting things happening in my life: I’m in the third year of my Theological study degree; I have been active in sport and ministry through sport for 8-10 years; I got engaged to my beautiful wife and we are sitting in the airport on our way to the Beijing Olympic Games to join fellow Athletes in Action workers from around the world for the chaplaincy project in Beijing; and about two weeks after we arrive back in South Africa it will be our wedding day and our honeymoon.
We sat in a restaurant in Beijing watching the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games and were amazed how well and precisely the Chinese executed the ceremony. I remember feeling a bit overwhelmed by the magnitude of the Olympic Games. I knew that it was big, but as I compared it with the size of other big sport events I knew of, like the Rugby and Cricket World Cup I realised that this was much bigger by far: 204 nations competing against each other in various sport codes in the city of Beijing.
The Bird was the track and field Olympic Stadium and it has 96 000 seats. I remember the atmosphere in that stadium when Bolt won the Olympic gold and broke the world record even with slowing down in the last few metres of the 100 metre final. Electric.
It surely was big. Now, let’s go back to the opening ceremony. When I got back to my room that night I could not sleep. I had an uncomfortable feeling and was sad to see that a nation that did not honour God could do something so great.
I remember that as I sat down speaking to God about this confusion, I also started to work on an exegesis that was due for my theological studies in the week I returned to South Africa. The exegesis was on 1 Corinthians and as I read through 1 Corinthians 1, verse 25 stood out for me. God spoke loud and clear in those early morning hours. Here is the verse:
For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength — 1 Corinthians 1:25
Wow, I started to praise God in His Spirit. He showed me the truth once again as I was in the midst of the greatest sporting event in the world. Here, where some of the wisest of people wanted to showcase how big, greatly and well they could do things for their own glory, God brought the truth: even the “foolishness of God’’ is wiser than their human wisdom. Praise Jesus! We had such boldness to bring the truth of Jesus Christ in the midst of this great event to spectators and athletes after receiving this revelation. Praise the Lord!
It is now 8 years later. My wife and I have been happily married for eight years. Over the past eight years we have operated as athletes to bring the truth of Jesus Christ to all kinds of people, in all kinds of places, and including some who think that they have arrived in their own human wisdom.
Within two weeks from now we will be on our way to the Olympic Games again in order to bring the truth of Jesus to great sportsmen, sportswomen and spectators from all over the world. Why, you may ask. Simply because even though we as human beings like to look up to people that are good at something or successful in some area, these acts of greatness are still foolishness when compared to God and His wisdom.
Without Him these achievements mean nothing. So, we should stand up and speak the truth of Jesus Christ so that people can have an intimate relationship with God through Jesus Christ. God loved the world so much that He sent His Son, Jesus, to this world so that whoever believe in Him and accept Him can become children of God and can have purposeful lives — so that there will be “more” than just the gold — namely Jesus.
As you enjoy the Olympic Games this year please keep on praying for us. We will also keep all of you in our prayers. Use every opportunity while watching the Games so that you can speak the truth of Jesus to people around you who perhaps also put their trust in their own human wisdom instead of in God.
May God bless your work and ministry around the Games and may the angels in Heaven celebrate, not for the great event and achievements, but for souls that turn to God through us all being bold and obedient to preach the gospel!
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