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"there has only ever been one perfect man, the Lord Jesus, and we killed him. I only missed a putt."

Berhard Langer on the 1991 Ryder Cup

Important but not All-Important

For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. 1 Timothy 4:8.

Sport is legitimate. It is part of God’s creation and it brings pleasure to many. It is as worthwhile a part of human activity as any other. Through sport people can glorify God and it can provide opportunities to talk about Jesus. However, at the end of the day, sport is transient. It, like all other human activity, is going to pass away. In the light of eternity it is of limited value.

While there is a danger of sport becoming an idol if it is put ahead of Christ, sport is important because it is the arena in which we serve Christ.

Helmfried Riecker expresses it thus in his book Warm Up: “The New Testament writers are unanimous, not only about the hope of eternal life after death, but also that the goal of that eternal life is to be with Christ in the presence of God the Father… It is great to set sports goals and to gain a real part of your meaning in life through the fulfilment of these goals. However, the short-term goals will appear in a different perspective when you see again the real goal of your life. If winning a final is an exciting thing, how much greater will be the celebration of the ultimate goal of your life?”

South African, cricketer, Peter Pollock would agree with that: ‘As Christian sportsmen our task is to throw ourselves wholeheartedly into applying the gifts God has given us in the arena he has prepared for us, realizing always that the final victory isn’t the World Cup’ (‘The myth of success’).

Wanting to compete at the Olympics and wanting to win a gold medal are totally appropriate aspirations for an athlete. At the same time we need to remember God’s big picture.

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