The London Olympic Games! As Canadians, we’re not at the top of the heap, but we applaud our athletes when they win. When they don’t win, we support them, recognizing that they’ve trained diligently and have competed with determination. We are convinced that they’ve done their best, and that impresses us.
How disappointing in contrast are the eight badminton players who were disqualified. Not only were they not doing their best, they were deliberately throwing games to position themselves for later conquests.
International Olympics Committee spokesman Mark Adams stated, “We applaud the Badminton World Federation for having taken swift and decisive action; such behaviour is incompatible with the Olympic values.”
Actually, such behaviour is incompatible with Christian values, as well. In fact, within the Christian and biblical context, the terms success and failure have more to do with motive and sincerity than with winning or receiving medals. It’s about doing our best.
We begin to do our best for God by being faithful. 1 Corinthians 4:2 says, “It is required that stewards must be faithful.” There’s never been a substitute for someone who is on time, on track and dependable.
Those who do their best for God will also be fervent. Colossians 3:23,24 says, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men …”
Doing our best for God produces fullness. This fullness is the result of fellowship with God and a sense of satisfaction experienced by those who genuinely serve Him. Like the apostle Paul, we “… know that in the Lord our labour is not in vain.” (1 Corinthians 15:58)
Doing our best for God leads to fruitfulness. Jesus taught His disciples that if they followed Him, they would have abundant lives. (John 10:10)
But He added that those who serve Him will “receive a hundred times more in this present age … and in the age to come eternal life.” (Mark 10:30)
Those who’ve done their best for God tend to finish well. I’m not saying that belief in Jesus eradicates fear of death. I will say that generally, I’ve seen more acceptance of death and less anxiety about the future among Christians.
Paul, just before his death, wrote, “… the time for my departure is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me … (2 Timothy 4:6ff).
So … we don’t need to be Olympians or win medals … but we should always do our best.
“When we do the best that we can, we never know what miracle is wrought in our life, or in the life of another,” said Helen Keller.
Pastor Ross Helgeton is the senior pastor at Erskine Evangelical Free Church.