For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 NKJV
It’s funny because I wouldn’t expect God to speak to me through the Olympics, but surprisingly, He did. I’m not much of a sports fan, but when it comes to the Olympics, I enjoy watching with my family and “rooting” for the USA participants together.
So, we were excitedly watching “Women’s Skeleton” with USA Noelle Pikus-Pace as our number one choice and fellow American Katie Uhlaender as our second pick. However, as it turned out, Pikus-Pace won silver but Uhlaender finished in fourth place – barely missing the podium by 0.04 seconds. After the races concluded, I watched as an interviewer questioned Uhlaender who began tearing up, shocked she lost by a mere 0.04 seconds.
But that made me stop to think: four hundredths of a second. I can’t even say a single word in that short amount of time. Yet, here are hundreds of athletes pouring their lives into training and preparing for this championship just to beat others by a difference of less than a second. Many of them will go home from these Olympics empty-handed, heartbroken, and devastated they lost by such a slim difference in time. For some, they’ve wasted their lives trying to get a medal and, sadly, regardless of all their exercising and prepping, they didn’t earn one.
Through these Olympics, God pointed out to me very clearly how important it is for us to live for eternity. As Christians, we aren’t to live for the here and now, but rather, for what is to come in eternity. We could choose to live for our own pleasures and desires, but if we do, we’re living for the four hundredths of a second. And let me tell you friends, this four hundredths of a second will go by in a blink of an eye compared to life in eternity.
Hebrews 11:24-26a states this: By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt…
It’s easy to “enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season” – or in this example, live life for the fractions of a second. Many of us prefer to live for our own glory, for our own benefit, for our own fame, for our own desires – but that’s living for mere split seconds. In light of eternity, those things don’t matter because they fade away in light of Christ and the great things He has accomplished.
Instead of living for our own glory, God asks us to live for His. Instead of living for our own benefit, He wants us to live for the benefit of others around us. Instead of for our own fame, for the fame of His majestic Name. And instead of for our own desires, for the desires of the Great and Mighty One. When we do, He doesn’t guarantee an easy life, happiness beyond compare, or gold medals (in fact, He actually guarantees suffering and trials), but He does promise us fulfillment in Christ. And though it doesn’t sound as grand as gold medals, truly, truly, the reproach of Christ is greater riches than all the medals or wealth in the world.
 See Psalm 66:10-12; Proverbs 17:3; Isaiah 48:10; Zechariah 13:9; Matthew 5:10-12; Matthew 24:9; Mark 13:9, 13; Luke 21:12, 17; John 15:18-20; John 16:33; Romans 5:3-5; James 1:2-4, 12; 1 Peter 1:6-7; 1 Peter 4:12-16; 1 John 3:13; Revelation 2:10