“Knowing Christ is the best thing that has ever happened to me, although winning the US Open was a pretty good second.”
I knowI know whom I have believed and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day 2 Timothy 1:12.
I am writing this in Delhi at the Commonwealth Games. As I read this passage this morning Graham Cray’s notes suggested that Roman culture was built on honour and shame while modern culture focuses on appearances, celebrity and fame. I instantly thought of sport with its performance driven culture. Cray says that Timothy needed to “ignore the pressure of a shame-based culture”.
Similarly we need to strive not to be caught up in the performance-driven culture of sport. For many competitors the Commonwealth Games will be the peak of their career. One of the people I am writing about – as I work here as a journalist – is a 17 year-old cyclist. Imagine reaching an international competition on the other side of the world at 17! Of course performance matters. You have not trained for years to reach the international stage without caring how you perform.
The point is rather how do we get beyond the pressure of performance (or shame/honour)? The answer is twofold.
1 Know whom you believed;
2 Know that a greater day is coming.
As an athlete competes in the Commonwealth Games (or as a journalist struggles to be in the right place to find a good story to write) it is a helpful perspective to know ultimately one’s significance rests not in how well one performs this week but rather in knowing “Christ Jesus who destroyed death and brought life” (Verse 10). Moreover it is about believing that Jesus Christ with keep us thorough competition, life and death until that Greater Day comes – a day much greater than Commonwealth Games, Olympics, World Cup etc.
But let’s not get so heavenly minded that we are of no earthly use. I have still got to be the best journalist I can be today – but with that heavenly perspective.