Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The "Blade Runner": When Weak Becomes Strong

The story of Oscar Pistorius, "the Blade Runner," is an incredible tale. He has never backed down and has never given up. But more than that, his is an account of someone who took what should have been weakness and became one of the fastest men in the world. Why? A huge part of it is because stronger, better people invested their lives in him so that he was able to become a world-class athlete.
Just in case you missed it, Oscar Pistorius is the South African runner who had 2 prostheses attached to his legs below the knee soon after he was born. He made history by being the first double amputee permitted into the Olympics. He had run many races and won often in the Paralympics, but this was an achievement many thought impossible. Not only did he make the South African Olympic team, he also made the semi-finals in the 400 meter and the finals in the 4x400 relay. Yes, you read right...the finals. No medal, yet this was a crowning achievement to be competing against the fastest runners in the world...as an equal.
For those of us who are crippled in physique, we breathed a breath of fresh air. We realized that it is possible to make an impact. It is in the realm of our ability to get out there and make a difference...to do something that will make the history books. Are all of us Oscar Pistorius-esque? Of course not. But many of us will get out there and try again and try even harder, this time with a little more "spring in our step" because we experienced a man, the "blade runner," make a difference on the world stage.
What can we all draw from this feat of world-class athletic prowess? Simply this: weak can be made strong. Strength is acquired. And it is not gained without support. You see, 25 years ago, when Oscar was born, his parents made a tough decision. Oscar was born with bones in his lower legs. His feet were deformed. It was their tough choice in those tough days when you expect your baby boy to have "10 fingers and 10 toes" that they decided to amputate below the knee at the doctor's urging. This was so that he would have a chance to be normal. Who knew he would be anything but normal?
Even at the beginning of his life, the strong were making decisions for this weak baby boy that would impact him and make him strong...stronger than they could ever have imagined.
Could Oscar have made world headlines by himself? Maybe, but I somehow doubt it. As with nearly all great athletes, they know it takes others...all stronger. Here's a tweet directly from him so you can experience his heart. He posted, "Thank you all for playing a part in one of the greatest weeks of my life!"
People such as coaches, financiers, encouragers, fans, and yes, even moms and dads (anyone ever hear an athlete on TV say, "Thanks, Mom"?). They all invested in his life and look what happened.
In the Bible, Romans 14-15 gives us the word on how that works in the most important of all achievments, our spiritual success. The strong take the weak under their arm and build them up, encourage them, and correct them so that they can be strong as well. It's a spiritual principle that works every time. The Bible says it this way:
Now we who are strong have an obligation to bear the weaknesses of those without strength, and not to please ourselves. Each one of us must please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. (Romans 15:1, 2 HCSB)
Why do we spend our time with those who are weak? So that one day, they won't just be world-class athletes, but world-changing Christians. Don't you think that's important enough to invest your time and effort into? Truly, it's worth giving our lives over to completely. We should be challenged to find somone struggling, put your spiritual arms around them and watch what happens as the both of you change the world for Christ.

Pastor Trey Rhodes
Oceanside Church

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