It’s amazing how the Olympics brings people together. An entire nation is rooting for the same team. Longhorns and Aggies. Wolverines and Buckeyes. Dogs and cats, living together, mass hysteria. But in a good way.
But the closing ceremonies are a few hours away, as I type. And after that, Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony will resume their NBA rivalry as though nothing had happened in Rio. Nothing has really changed. Because when it comes right down to it, the glory of an Olympic medal is not as important to them as an NBA championship and, more importantly, the gobs of money that is thrown at them in its pursuit. I’m not criticizing, mind you; I’m just stating an obvious fact.
We as the people of God are engaged in a competition as well — an ongoing conflict against “the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12), and by necessary extension, against those who oppose us in the flesh. That includes the fools who reject God entirely (Psalm 14:1); it also includes those who name the name of Jesus in vain, “serving” Him for their own selfish purposes (Romans 16:17-18, 2 Peter 2:1, 2 John 9, etc.).
We may put that rivalry aside temporarily for family functions, hospital visits, and the like; there is, as Solomon wrote, “a time to be silent and a time to speak” (Ecclesiastes 3:7). But who we truly are at our core doesn’t change. And as long as they don’t change either, we will eventually resume hostilities. We must. Serving Jesus for an eternity is more important than the togetherness of the moment.