Last Summer’s Olympic Games were part of a four-year cycle – they aim to be back! You may love them or hate them, but there’s no doubt that people all over the world take them seriously.
Sport is one of those things that seems to assume a place of prominence in national life and what is called ‘national self-esteem’. So it was refreshing to read the other day of a great Olympic rower who was 36th on a list of the ‘Greatest Britons’.
He said he was hugely embarrassed by being placed above such luminaries as Charles Dickens, John Wesley, Robert Bruce, Walter Raleigh and David Livingstone. ‘That was absolutely appalling’, he said, with commendable honesty.
Sport is important enough, he continued, ‘but when you look at that list and the impact they made to the world, there’s no place for an athlete. Yes, sport puts a smile on people’s faces but that’s nothing compared to a medical breakthrough, say’.
Is religion important?
This raises the big question – what is really important? Many things, of course, are relatively important. Family, health, education, politics, food and drink, and so on, are all important to us, in varying degrees. But what is important to one person is not necessarily important to another.
So what about religion? Is that important? And does it matter which religion? Well, it surely does. Christ described himself as ‘the way, the truth and the life’. He said no one could come to God the Father but by him (John 14:6).
If this is true, Christ is the most important person who ever lived. Without him we, as sinners, are lost – for ‘without faith [in Christ] it is impossible to please God’ (Hebrews 11:6).
What is so important about coming to faith in Christ? Well, the importance lies in the issues involved. Nothing else under the sun remotely approaches the significance or consequence of being converted to Jesus Christ.
Why? Because the issues are not just for this life, they are for eternity – for death and what lies beyond. The Bible says, ‘it is appointed unto man once to die, and after this the judgement’ (Hebrews 9:27).
At the judgement there will be a great separation. All will go to their own place – either among the lost or among the saved. We are faced with these two ways. This is the most important issue: Where will you spend eternity?
Eternity will only be good to the soul that has received Jesus Christ and which rests on him alone for salvation. We dare not neglect the gospel for, in the final analysis, Christ is the ‘one thing needful’ for safety, peace and happiness (Luke 10:42).