Saturday, February 15, 2014

A Lesson from Biathlon

"make every effort along the way"
Luke 12:58

My focus today is the biathlon.  I'm endlessly fascinated by this event, and I'm not quite sure why.  It might be that I love it because it's one part cross-country, which I love. 

It might be that the sport has its origins in Norway, a country that greatly intrigues me.  I'm a bit of a cold-weather girl, for one, and I've been enchanted by Norway ever since the 1994 Games in Lillehammer. 

It might be that the two events in biathlon ~ cross-country skiing and shooting ~ seem like an odd choice to combine.  But it makes perfect sense when you know the history of the sport:  military training.  Isn't that interesting?

But mostly I think I love it because the two components call for entirely different strengths.  Cross-country is about endurance, physical strength, and a certain amount of planning ~ maintaining the necessary pace on the uphill, downhill, and level portions.  And shooting is about concentration, poise, and keeping your body as still as possible.  One of the commentators said this week that if you want to know what biathletes feel like, run up ten flights of stairs, then thread a needle.  I've also heard it said that biathletes are the best athletes of all, because your heart has to be well-conditioned if you're going to shoot well after cross-country skiing.

I think the biathlon is an apt comparison for the spiritual life God wants us to live.  Christian living often calls for all-out effort... stamina, and perseverance... forgiving and loving and showing kindness without ever compromising truth.  It takes effort and sometimes a planning ahead (getting your armor on, and getting full-up on prayer) before the more difficult times. 

But it's also about little things.  It's about details and things that seem unimportant to us, but matter to someone else.  

And consider this:  the word "sin" comes from a word that means "missing the mark".  Coincidence?  I think not.

~ "He will bless those who fear the Lord,
   both small and great" ~
Psalm 115:13

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