“And athletes cannot win the prize unless they follow the rules.” I Timothy 2:5. NLT
2nd Sunday – “The Inner Compass!”
Using the example of an athlete competing in a race is prominent in the Apostle Paul’s description of the Christian life. The Olympic games of which we are so familiar, had their origin in the regions Paul ministered. With the popularity of the Olympics, and the national pride they imbued, Timothy would have been most familiar with Paul’s example. The urgency of this teaching was two-fold: Paul was nearing the end of his life; and, Timothy was nearing his early middle-adult years. Paul’s succinct message to Timothy can be paraphrased this way: If you wish to attain your goal, make sure your inner compass (faith) keeps you on track” Paul was aware that Timothy was living in a world of conflicting values, and baseless claims that competed with the message of the Gospel. Some people became so cynical that they refused to believe anything; especially irrefutable truth. The late and Peter Marshall, gleaning from others also said, “If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything.” Our faith helps us follow the sacred principles that can lead us toward our successes. We must stick to these principles: believe, hope, persevere, do not waiver, stay on course. Our faith will teach us how to be creative and adaptive. Timothy was sent to a very difficult church in Ephesus; there was a history of confusion. But Timothy neither flinched nor did he fail! Speaking of succeeding, I was moved this week by the story of Bradley Rainwater. He's a pole vaulter from Michigan who recently cleared 10 feet in the jump and is on his way to compete in college. What’s remarkable is that Bradley has been blind since birth. He can’t see the vault nor the vault track. But his passion for the sport is obvious. He learned the runway by having his dad place plastic lines along the track. Bradley walks along the track feeling the plastic lines. He does this once. He then takes his run and leaps over the bar. Like Bradley and Timothy, we need to follow the rules of the inner compass. With God, our hearts can truly lead us onward!