No. 36 - 30th April 2017

We saw it back at the Rio Olympics when Alistair Brownlee stopped to help his young brother Jonny over the last few hundred yards of the Triathlon event. It was an extraordinary gesture, because he gave up his own chance of winning the race in order to help his brother get to the finishing line. It was a moment of pure sacrifice. And then it happened again last week in the London marathon. This time it was David Wyeth who was in trouble, staggering around in the middle of the road before collapsing in a heap. Another competitor, Matthew Rees, saw what was happening. He didn’t know the man. He’d never met him before, but he stopped his race and helped David to his feet, saying “Come on, we can do this.” The crowds loved it. Everyone was cheering and clapping. Now, Matthew was never in with a chance of winning the race, but he still gave up his own race time to help someone else who was in trouble. That was pure selfless generosity.

I was so glad to see that David’s club responded with equal generosity, and have offered to pay Matthew’s entrance fee for next years race, as well as a First Class return ticket from Swansea to London and his accommodation all paid for. What is it about these selfless acts of generosity that affect us so much? We, who spend so much of our lives concentrating on ourselves and our own achievements, seem strangely moved by someone who defies the norm and acts in a completely unselfish way, even when it hurts to do it.

There was a moment when the Apostle Paul was writing about what Christ had done for us, and it’s almost as though he can’t contain his emotions as he encourages us to be like him, “who, – and I quote – though he was of the same nature as God, and even saw himself as being equal with God, He laid aside all that power and glory, and took on the role of a slave by becoming a mere human being. Then he humbled himself even more, by submitting himself to die, for us, like a criminal on a cross”. Paul goes on to say that one day, everyone will have to acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, and that it was all God the Father’s doing. What a day that will be. The cheering and the adulation will be like nothing we’ve ever seen before. Not even at the London Olympics.

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