Jump directly to the Content
Jump directly to the Content

Sermon Illustrations

Home > Sermon Illustrations

Olympic Athlete Shows How to Compete to the Finish Line

As an eight-year-old boy growing up in Hawaii, Brian Clay dreamed of winning one of the most prized gold medals in the Olympic games—the decathlon. He accomplished that goal in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

In the decathlon, athletes earn points for their marks in ten events over two days. With a commanding lead going into the last event, the 1,500-meter run, Clay could have just coasted to the finish line and still earned the gold medal. But when Clay was asked when he knew he had the decathlon wrapped up, he surprised me with his reply:

In the last race when I was about 10 feet away from the finish line—that's when I knew I'd won. I'd worked, trained, and competed for eight years to be able to … have the gold [medal] hanging around my neck. And if there was anything those eight years of competition had taught me it was that in competing against the best in the world in ten grueling events, anything can go wrong before you cross the finish line.

I've never competed in the Olympics, but I have competed in life. Like Brian Clay, I've learned that the race isn't over until you cross the finish line. Even in the very last years of life—just short of the finish line—you can continue to be used by God. People still need you. You can still have an impact.

Related Sermon Illustrations

The Long Run Mindset

In a recent issue of Runner's World, Jess Movold shared how she lost her passion to press on:

Tempo runs scare me. Those long, hard, sustained efforts always look impossible when ...
[Read More]

Marathoner Comes in Last—for a Purpose

Out of the 26,639 people who completed the 2016 Boston Marathon, 72-year-old Fran Drozdz finished 26,639th. Dead last. The roaring crowds and official coronations had departed. Workers ...

[Read More]