John Beck used to be a football star for the Univ. of KY. Later on he became a preacher & was chosen to be a Chaplain to travel with the U.S. Olympic Teams. For a number of years he traveled with our Olympic Teams all over the world, leading in their devotions, counseling & praying with many of the athletes. As he watched these young men & women train for the events in which they competed, he decided that this was a picture of what Christianity really ought to be. Here were people who were sincere & fervent & dedicated to the task before them. They were willing to pay any price, regardless of how much suffering or pain they had to endure. They were willing to pay any price to be #1, to win. Then one day John Beck was invited to visit the Special Olympics. Special Olympics, as you know, are made up of special athletes. All of them suffer from some kind of mental or physical disability. He watched them as 8 runners lined up for the 100 yard dash. They all took off when the starting gun fired, & he was amazed at how good they actually were. But as they reached halfway in the race, one of the boys fell down, skinned his knee on the track, & started to cry. He said that what happened next was both beautiful & amazing. All 7 of the other runners stopped, & all 7 of them turned around & went to the boy who had fallen. One girl went over to him & brushed the cinders off his knee, kissed it & said, “There, that will make it feel better.” Then all of them together helped him up to his feet again. And all 8 went across the finish line together. Beck said that he then realized that he had seen the real spirit of Christianity, not in the Olympics, but in the Special Olympics. Our highly competitive world seems always to be saying that the only thing that counts is if you are #1, if you can beat everybody else. But I wonder if that is really a picture of what God wants us to be?
It seems to me that the true picture is that when a brother falls, we are all there to help pick him up, & to brush him off, & then to all cross the finish line together.