How the Olympic torch relay got me excited about evangelism
In case you haven't heard, in only seven days, the Olympics are coming to London. That means the Olympic Torch will be arriving at the stadium. I'm just a little excited. Fine, I'll admit it. I'm really excited. I would give just about anything to be at the Opening Ceremony and see the last runner light the cauldron. Give me a break. I'm an American living in London during the Olympics.
It's not really the games themselves that have me most excited. It's the arrival of the torch in the stadium. Not just for its significance to the games. Not just for the chance to see something that has become such an important tradition. I'm excited because I am also part of a relay.
By the time the torch arrives at the stadium, it will have passed through the hands of 8,000 torchbearers. That's 8,000 people chosen to announce the arrival of the games in London. Each one has an important part to play in bringing the torch closer to its final destination. If one person isn't ready to do their part, the whole relay will be delayed.
Every Christian carries their own fire - whether it's raging so that everyone can see, or a small flame waiting to be fanned into greatness. It's a fire of love for the saviour and the hope offered by his resurrection. It is our responsibility to take that fire to the nations. It is our responsibility to announce to the world that the Messiah has arrived and is returning. Just as it takes 8,000 runners to complete the torch relay, it takes every Christian's involvement in preparing the world for Christ's return. We all have someone who came before us in the race. We all have pastors, parents, mentors or friends who did their part. They learned how to pass their faith along. They showed us the hope Jesus offers. They taught us how to share that faith with those who will come after us. Now they've handed the torch to us to carry.
Each of our roles is unique. One person might be asked to share Jesus with children in church while one is asked to go half way around the world. One person might be called to witness as a cashier at Sainsbury's while one is called to the tallest high rise in the City of London. Each role is important, and if we don't fill ours, then someone, somewhere who needs to hear about Jesus might not.
While we do our part, we have to prepare the next generation of believers for their turn. Like the generation before us and the generations before that, we have to show them how to do their part.
Once every runner in the torch relay has done their part, we'll see a great fire lit. We'll see the start of the greatest sporting event in history.
Once every believer has done their part, we'll see something even better. We'll see the return of our Saviour. We'll see every knee bend before Him and hear every tongue praise Him (Romans 14:11).
So what's your part? And how will you do it?