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  • Rev. Bradford G. Olson

The slowest marathon

In 1996 I had the privilege of being a chaplain for the Olympic Games in Atlanta. I was a part of a team of a couple of dozen people, representing a wide variety of faith traditions, who were there to provide for the spiritual needs of the athletes while they were in the Olympic Village.

It was a great experience, but after 3 weeks, I was ready to get home. I planned my exit strategy very carefully. On the last day of the Games the marathon is run and then there are the closing ceremonies. I knew my road out would be closed until after everyone had finished the marathon. I figured I had a window of opportunity after the marathon, but before the traffic for the closing ceremonies picked up.

I figured the fastest runners would finish in just over 2 hours, and that everyone else would have finished after 3 hours. When I got to the marathon route, the road was still blocked off. I got out of the car and waited.

As I talked to others who were waiting, I learned that there was still one guy to finish. Abdel Baser Wasiqi was the athlete from Afghanistan. I waited another hour and a half for him to come by. He ended up finishing with the slowest time in Olympic history.

In an interview later in the day he was asked why he kept going, knowing that he couldn't win and that most everyone else was done. He said, "My country didn't send me here to start the race. They sent me to finish. And, I finished."

It made me think about when Jesus said, "It is finished (John 19:30)." Maybe the 'it' that Jesus was talking about was not his life, but his purpose. Maybe what he was saying was not that his life had come to its end, but that he had accomplished everything that he was sent here to do.

Jesus started his ministry saying that "The kingdom of heaven has come near (Mt. 4:17)." Maybe now he is saying that his death on the cross accomplished everything we need to be near to God.

Jesus said, "The son of man came to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10." Maybe what Jesus is saying on the cross is that with his sacrifice, we have everything we need to receive salvation.

Rev. Bradford G. Olson

The Powerlifting Pastor

When John the Baptist baptized Jesus in the Jordan river, he said, "Behold the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world (John 1:29)." Maybe Jesus was saying on the cross that now we have everything we need to be forgiven.

Why is that important? Well, have you ever wondered whether yo have done enough to be right with God? If I'm right, you don't have to. Instead, trust that what Jesus did on the cross is enough. Are you wondering whether you have done enough to get into heaven? You don't have to. Instead, trust that what Jesus did on the cross was enough!

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