Olympic Competition - Chester Cook

If life were like the Olympics, love would be a major event.

Love is an amateur, recreational sport for most people. Rarely do we see anyone commit to real love, and seldom do we see anyone practicing and training to love with the same intensity as an Olympic athlete.

Love is patient; it requires a lifetime of devotion and personal commitment to mature into perfection. Love requires self-discipline, with self and others. Love will not give up; rather, it will seek to edify.

Love is kind; it speaks gentle words of encouragement, with a soft touch and humble manner. It seeks to care for relationships and the beloved. Its strength is in meekness.

Love does not envy. Love compliments the gold, silver, and bronze medal winners. Love does its very best to realize the gift of God within, and to give the very best it has for the glory of God.

Love does not boast. Love gives proper recognition to others without embellishment or pride. Love acknowledges the power of God and the contributions of others, in the accomplishment of the victory. And foremost, it seeks to give God all the praise and glory without any attempt at even one second of self-aggrandizement.

Love is not proud. It is humble, with a proper recognition of God as the enabler. Love is satisfied and content with being love, and does not strive to be more, or less. It is not conceited, pompous or egotistical.

Love is not rude. Love seeks to be polite, respectful and courteous. It is not vulgar, offensive or boorish. It even avoids scornful sarcasm.

Love is not self-seeking. It cares for the well-being of others, is charitable and giving. It is not selfish, self-centered, self-absorbed or self-interested. It is not narcissistic.

Love is not easily angered. Love has a good temperament, and a godly wisdom that helps keep issues in divine perspective. It only reviles evil in a righteous manner, seeking justice.

Love keeps no record of wrongs. It is not vengeful or punitive. Love's desire is for the enlightenment of the disciple. It seeks to cultivate knowledge and nurture intimacy. It practices forgiveness, mercy and grace.

Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. All that is un-loving, un-righteous and immoral is foreign to love. Love is truth and universal. It is the answer to the problems of war and hatred. Love is the Olympic Ideal.

Love always protects. It guards and defends the beloved and the innocent. Love always trusts, and is trustworthy of our entrustment. Love always hopes, in the goodness of God and the ultimate consummation of the beloved.

Love always perseveres, and endures to the end of the race and the prize of the high calling.

Love never fails, quits or ends. Love wins.

If you have any comments on this column, please contact me at chaplain@airportchapel.org.