Spiritual Olympics

Few activities excite us more than watching our favorite athletes speed across the
finish line or win the big game and accept the prize, right? Yes and no. While
cheering one athlete on to victory exhilarates us, waiting in hushed silence to
see if another fallen or injured athlete can muster the resolve to finish the
race stirs something deeper—and more meaningful—inside us.

Why? Because the win, while sweet, is not the point. In the February 1994 Reader’s Digest John E. Anderson described
two such moments that reveal something about our deeper sense of what it means
to win.

“The 1992 Summer Olympics featured two tremendously poignant moments. American
sprinter Gail Devers, the clear leader in the 100-meter hurdles, tripped over
the last barrier. She agonizingly pulled herself to her knees and crawled the
last five meters, finishing fifth—but finishing.

“Even more heart-rending was the 400-meter semifinal in which British runner Derek
Redmond tore a hamstring and fell to the track. He struggled to his feet and
began to hobble, determined to complete the race. His father ran from the
stands to help him off the track, but the athlete refused to quit. He leaned on
his father, and the two limped to the finish line together, to deafening

A father helping a fallen son limp across the finish is the quintessential
picture of the Christian life. Sports have done much to teach us about the
perseverance and teamwork needed to complete the event. It is only because of
the crown of thorns that Christ willingly wore that we can receive the crown of
life. Only because of His willingness to stumble up the hill to Calvary can we
one day rejoice as victors in heaven.

In this issue of Kindred Spirit several of our graduates and students who are accomplished athletes or professionals in
the field of athletics share with us the parallels between what they have done
and what Paul described in Philippians 3:13–14: “One thing I do: Forgetting
what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal
to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

As we listen in on the spirit and the passion of these athletes, let’s remember
that no matter how many hurdles we trip over and no matter how many races we fail
to finish, our heavenly Father will always come down from the stands and help
us complete what only He, Himself, began. All we have to do is lean on Him.
“The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it” (1 Thess. 5:24).

About the Contributors

Mark L. Bailey

Dr. Bailey assumed the role of DTS Chancellor after serving for 19 years as the Seminary’s fifth President, and continues his role as Sr. Professor in the Bible Exposition department. In addition to his years at Dallas Theological Seminary, he has pastored various churches in Arizona and Texas. He was a seminar instructor for Walk Thru the Bible Ministries for twenty years and is in demand for Bible conferences and other preaching engagements all over the country and world. His overseas ministries have included Venezuela, Argentina, Hungary, and China. He is also a regular tour leader in Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Turkey, Greece, and Rome. His board service includes Bible Study Fellowship, Walk Thru the Bible Ministries, and Word of Life.