And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. – Colossians 3:17
They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony. – Revelation 12:11
Last week I posted about Sydney McLaughlin, the American runner who won gold at the Olympics in the 400-meter hurdles. What made her stand out to me was her unashamed testimony for Jesus Christ in the past, and what I anticipated she would say after winning the gold. The reporter who spoke briefly with McLaughlin and her friend and teammate, silver medalist Dalilah Muhammad, asked about their partnership and their “iron sharpening iron” relationship that had made them both unbeatable. It wasn’t a long interview, and though the winner blurted “Glory to God!” at one point, she wasn’t given an opportunity to say much else. No matter, I’m confident she will testify to the goodness of God in her life in many future interviews.
Another sport, which I unfortunately missed – and admittedly know nothing about – was rugby. The winner of the gold in that event was the team from Fiji, a relatively tiny nation of islands in the Pacific, who defeated the team from New Zealand. Overwhelmed with joy, the Fijians responded to their victory with a prayer and a song of praise.
I’m guessing that the first verse is in one of the languages spoken in Fiji, but if you listen carefully, the second is in English: “We have overcome, by the blood of the lamb, and the word of the Lord, we have overcome.” (Revelation 12:11) And lest anyone else is like me and didn’t recognize at first what they were singing, a couple of the players pointed to heaven for emphasis.
Most of us won’t have an opportunity to praise the Lord in front of the entire world, but we can live out the assignment He has given us each day in front of whoever He brings our way. When we succeed, we can either take the credit ourselves for everything “we accomplish,” or give the glory to the One who gave us life, health, ability, opportunity, strength, energy, and endurance to complete the race set before us. We can glorify Jesus in our world – our family, friends, neighbors, coworkers, and strangers we encounter along the way. We have a great treasure to share, our life in Christ – the forgiveness, the rebirth, the blessings of His promises that He never breaks, and the hope of eternal life with Him.
And by the way, we don’t have to be “winners” to glorify Christ. At the most crucial moment in history, Jesus appeared to be the ultimate loser – abandoned by His friends, beaten, mocked, spit on, and nailed to a cross for all to witness His agonizing death. But days later He rose as the ultimate Victor. He didn’t stay in the grave, and we won’t, either, if we are His followers! At those frustrating times we don’t succeed, we may have an even greater opportunity to show His impact on our lives. After all, anyone can be joyful when they win, but Christ-followers know that He works all things together for our good, even the times of “losing.” (Romans 8:28)
Jesus gave His followers the Great Commission, to go out into all the world and tell everyone about Him. Many, many people are hungry, even desperate, for the life we have in Him. Just know that whether or not we are famous, the world is watching. Each of us has our part to play.
This is a short post for me. I know your time is valuable, but I hope you will take 45 seconds of it to experience this divine moment with these brothers of mine, whom I will meet (and sing with) someday.
Prayer: Dear God from Whom all blessings flow, we thank You for life and breath and another day to live for You. Thank You for making each of us unique and giving us whatever tools we need to carry out Your will for us each day. Make us instruments that give You glory wherever You have called us, in Jesus’ name, Amen.