Real life examples
As I was watching the Olympics that happened in Tokyo where I live and minister, I was struck by each and almost every athlete who performs at these Olympic games—different team sports or individual sports or new and old or many different things. But as you know, the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics were supposed to happen last year in 2020. and then people discussed their opinions about a possible postponement.
Truly I felt that the 2021 Games should be canceled or postponed one more time or just postponed two years three years until we overcome this pandemic.
But each and every summer Olympic athlete faced the same temptation or same challenge: Do we even have an opportunity to compete or perform because Tokyo Olympics may not happen?
I can't grasp that some athletes discipline themselves day and night every single day, and their lives are completely changed to be in peak shape at the time of the Tokyo Olympics... and then it's postponed because of the pandemic. And not only postponed but also that no spectators are allowed—no support team and no family.
But each and every performing athlete competed, and they all did their best at Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics. I was so impressed and moved by their determination to put everything into this performance.
That reminded me of the Apostle Paul's message. Paul often talked about finishing the race receiving the crown of glory, fighting the battle until the end, in order to "become more than conquerors" and the assurance of victory at the very very end, no matter what happens—no matter what happens. Right at the moment, Paul was always thinking about "one day" because of Jesus Christ, not because of his own efforts, we are assured the victory.
Maybe you and I sometimes feel that way. Maybe you are in the middle of that kind of a challenge. You look forward. You look back, right, left, up, down, every corner. Maybe you don't see any hope, but just discouragement. And we don't have any more energy or any more room to accept another hit. And then, at your lowest, you might be already saying,
"I can't do this. I can't do this anymore!"
But let's focus on the lesson of Paul because of what Jesus did, he is not asking you to put more effort to stand up and fight the battle. But because of what Jesus did and because Jesus said,
"I will never leave you, never forsake you"
He will even carry you and carry me to finish the race.
So let's keep on going! Let's not be disqualified. If we give up—if you give up, that's the only reason that we will be disqualified. That's why Paul said, "I will not become a disqualified person". I will keep on going even though I cannot move an inch.
Let's be in this race. Let's not give up and finish the race until we receive the glorious crown that has been promised. So let's not disqualify ourselves. As I saw the Olympians, whether they won the gold medal or not, they came over to the race and finished the race. No one gave up. No one disqualified themselves. They finished the race.
Let's be like that. Let's finish our race and fight the battle until we receive the crown of glory.
God bless you,
Takeshi Takazawa was born and raised in Tokyo, Japan. He became a Christian through a children’s English class held in partnership with A2 and a local Japanese church. He quickly became involved in serving in the church and by the time he was in college he was involved in various leadership roles. After graduation, he joined A2 as Acting Business Manager for the English language schools and from there he worked with others to start the Church Planting Networks. He also began teaching and training in other Asian countries. Currently, he is also involved in various special projects in Japan and Asia, including disaster relief and leadership renewal and development.
Watch on YouTube... https://youtu.be/Sc1TwTQh0zA
- Photo of women's race by Nicolas Hoizey on Unsplash
- Photo of sprinter in the starting blocks by Braden Collum on Unsplash
- Photo of troubled man by Nik Shuliahin on Unsplash