There’s a newspaper clipping from the 2002 Winter Olympics hanging over my desk.  It’s had that place of honor since the Salt Lake City games 8 years ago.  It’s a photo of an obviously ecstatic cross-country skier coming over the finish line with his ski poles held high in the air and an enormous smile on his face.  It’s a gold medal smile.  But I have the photo hanging there because he didn’t win the gold medal.  As a matter of fact, he came in last.  He finished 19 minutes and 33 seconds after the winner in that 10 kilometer race. 

So, why the smile?  The athlete in the picture, Isaac Menyoli from snowless Cameroon, said, “I had no technique, nothing.  But I finished, and people were cheering, and that’s all that matters.”

That picture reminds me of the many times in the Bible that our life is described as a race.  Our races might not be pretty.  Our technique might not always be medal-worthy.  But all God asks is that we run with endurance, that we keep the faith and that we finish the race.  And while we won’t get a medal, I hear there are some pretty awesome crowns at the finish line.

Psalm 19:5b,  Hebrews 12:1,  2 Timothy 4:7-8,  James 1:12