We are in Port Elizabeth at the moment, spending time with my mother. On Tuesday our grandchildren and their parents joined us. Like all holiday makers who visit the sea, the children wanted to go to the beach, despite windy and cloudy weather. Preparations for the Iron Man Competition, which takes place in Port Elizabeth tomorrow were underway. Areas of the parking were closed off and temporary structures were springing up. The pier was adorned with flags fluttering in the wind.
Clusters of foreigners in wet suits were taking photos, running down to the water or emerging and we saw groups of swimmers training far out to sea. Two approached us and asked whether we would keep an eye on their bags for twenty minutes while they did their swim. They told us they were Austrians. One had participated in another event last year and had so enjoyed South Africa that he had jumped at the chance to come again and take part in the Iron Man, bringing his friend over with him. My husband noted that we hadn’t seen the Austrian flag in the array but they assured us it would be there on the day. They asked if we would be watching but the thought of all the crowds and the road closures and traffic congestion discourages us. Much better watch on TV.
Those athletes are competing for their country. Crowds will judge Austria based on their performance. If they show unsportsmanlike behaviour or dishonesty, they will disgrace their country.
Likewise people are watching us. If we “compete” under the Christian flag, our Saviour and His Kingdom will be judged on our actions. Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great crowd of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. ( Hebrews 12:1)