Howdy and Welcome. I hope this will become a place of interesting observations and stimulating discussion. And since I like to sip on something while I do my thinking, I’m calling this “Sip with Dusty.”
Sometimes these comments will be devotional, sometimes not. Sometimes they will be brief, other times, perhaps, not so brief. You are always welcome in this conversation. We may not always agree, but perhaps we can find some common ground and learn from each other.
Like many of you, I enjoyed watching the recent Olympics. It’s a bit of shameless theatrics that NBC almost always closed its nightly broadcast with a medal ceremony of some American athlete – swimmer, gymnast, or whoever – standing on the platform, hearing his or her name called, then receiving the gold medal, finally capped off with the playing of the Star Spangled Banner. It makes for great TV, and it IS an American network and an American audience, so why not.
How thrilling it must be to stand on that platform and hear your national anthem. How satisfying it must be to reflect back on a LIFETIME of training, hard work, early morning practices, pulled muscles, and receive that gold medal. Finally to silence all those who said you couldn’t do it. Finally to know that all the discipline, self-denial and hard work was worth it. Finally to hear your name called.
Of course, we understand that the modern Olympics are based on the ancient Olympics, and similar contests from antiquity, and the idea of a victorious athlete being called up to the platform to receive the prize is nothing new. And I believe this is precisely the image that Paul has in mind in Philippians 3:13-14.
- “Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead” – just like an athlete who doesn’t dwell on the years of training and self-discipline, or even worry about those running beside him or her, but instead, focuses on the finish line ahead.
- “I press on toward the goal” – not athletic glory, or a wreath, or even a gold medal, but the goal of knowing Jesus, intimately & personally (see 3:10).
- “For the upward calling of God.” Here I think the NIV got it wrong. They interpret it as “for which God has called me heavenward.” That’s not a bad sentiment, but the text literally says, “for the calling-up of God.” I think it’s an image of an athlete hearing his name called and stepping up on the platform to receive the prize.
May God grant us grace never to stop short of the finish line.