Heb. 12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses,…
Where are you when the Olympics begin? If you’re like most people, you pull up a comfortable chair and watch the highlights on TV. Even if you aren’t usually a sports fan, there’s something about the Olympics that compels attention. Here are the best of the best, competing for the gold. And all of us at home cheer for our favorites.
During the early games in Athens, as now, the athletes were surrounded by fans in the stadium that encircled the track. The enthusiasm was strong as spectators cheered for their local or national favorites.
The writer to the Hebrews uses the image of the Athens games, a familiar contemporary event, to encourage the Hebrew Christians to persevere. These early believers were facing persecution and many were questioning how to live under such pressure. Although circumstances have changed, the principles still stand as each of us faces the challenges of conquering the strongholds in our lives.
The implication of the Greek word for “witnesses” is not just any critical spectator who isn’t good enough to play the game. Rather, these witnesses are experts, those who have already successfully run this race and won the prize. In the TV coverage of the Olympics, the commentators are usually former medal winners in the particular event. Experts. They understand every nuance of excellence in that event and inform the rest of us whether an athlete really did a good job or not. Their opinion shapes ours, and their opinion is far more important to the athlete than yours or mine might be. This cloud of witnesses is not just enthusiasts, but those who have gone before and have earned the right to comment on our game.
I want to perform at my best every day. Even as an ordinary woman, I’m going for the gold. You never know who’s watching…