There are usually two reactions when a Christian thinks of being judged by God, fear or uncertainty. What will it be like? Will it be a good or bad experience? Well, there is one way to better anticipate the experience and that is by watching the Olympics. Here’s why…
If you have been watching the Olympics this past week, you have seen some amazing accomplishments. One of the standouts has been U.S. swimmer Michael Phelps winning 5 gold medals, making him the most decorated Olympian of all time with a total of 28 medals (23 gold medals). As he stood on the podium to receive his final gold medal and announce his retirement, the emotions were high and tears were flowing.
These were not tears of sorrow, but of joy, reflection, gratitude, and accomplishment over the past 24 years. After competing in 4 different Olympics and setting many Olympic and world records, Michael now looks forward to a life free of daily workouts and training. So yes, it was a bittersweet moment knowing he would no longer compete for more gold medals, but it was also a time of celebration and looking forward to a new pressure free life.
This is a great picture of what Christians can anticipate in heaven! Jesus said,
Matthew 6:19-20 – “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.
In other words, all Christians will be judged by God and receive rewards in heaven for how they lived their life (i.e. trained) on earth. Figuratively speaking, it will feel like an Olympic awards ceremony with gold, silver, and bronze medals. It will be a day when emotions are high and tears will be flowing. There will be tears of joy, reflection, gratitude, and accomplishment much like an Olympic athlete feels today (1 Corinthians 3:12-15). There will also be bittersweet moments of regret knowing there are no more opportunities for spiritual victories. But in the end, it will be a time of celebration and looking forward to a pressure free eternal life.
This highlights the truth that what a Christian does today will have eternal implications. It also highlights that following Jesus will require spiritual commitment and training. Every Christian is in spiritual competition against an opponent (Ephesians 6:10-20). But the hard work and battle that is put in now will have eternal benefits lasting forever! Paul highlights this truth when he encouraged Pastor Timothy to hang in there and keep training:
1 Timothy 4:8 – … for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.
So as you watch the final week of the Rio Olympics and celebrate the accomplishments of these committed athletes, may it also be an inspiration for you in your commitment to Christ. Yes, a gold medal is a big deal, but a treasure in heaven is the best!