Over the past several years I’ve had the privilege of teaching Scriptures to elite Olympic athletes and coaches. A small group of Christian Olympians gather from around the world to be refreshed through relationships and God’s Word. As I’ve listened to their stories, I’ve mourned that they were trained to think that their self-worth is dependent upon winning. I say little about my time with them because I want to honor their privacy. Too many have already used and abused them, and I’m not adding myself to the list. I’ve been watching some of the 2016 Rio games, and I can’t help but reflect on the stories I’ve heard. I can’t help but hear Dr. Ashely Null‘s words, (Rev. Null is author/coordinator of the gathering I mentioned above), “For every competition there is one wedding and 10 funerals.” Rev. Null, among many other things, is a pastor to the athletes, and I’m sure he’s present at the Olympic village. He and others give their time to simply be available to rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn. (Romans 12:15) As I watch these games I’m grateful that people of faith are loving up on these olympians, not because they win, but rather because they are God’s image bearers.
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Dr. Jackie Roese grew up in upstate New York in a non-christian family. She received her Doctorate in Preaching from Gordon Conwell Seminary in 2010. She has written fifteen Bible studies and is willing to push us to MORE. Jackie translates the Bible with direct application to our everyday lives.