In the academy award winning movie Chariots of Fire, one of the main characters, Harold Abrahams, is determined to win the 100 meter dash. He’ll stop at nothing to see that gold metal around his neck. Just before the Olympic finals of that race, he’s in the training room getting ready when he suddenly becomes reflective. Aubrey, one of Harold’s teammates, is in there with him and becomes the sounding board off which Abrahams utters these profound lines:

“You, Aubrey, are my most complete man. You’re brave, compassionate, kind. A content man. That’s your secret. Contentment. I’m 24 and I’ve never known it. I’m forever in pursuit yet I don’t even know what it is I’m chasing. Aubrey, old chap, I’m scared… And now in hour’s time I’ll be out there again. I’ll raise my eyes and look down that corridor four feet wide with ten lonely seconds to justify my whole existence. But will I?”

You can hear it in his voice, “If only I could win, then I would know I’m somebody.” Have you ever thought that? Said that? Dreamed that? “If only… then I could be content.”

Harold’s story doesn’t end there. He walks out onto the track, raises his head looking down that four foot corridor and wins gold. Now he was somebody! Or was he?

In one of the next scenes, Abrahams is in the bar looking a bit inebriated, staring off into the distance as if to say, “Is this all there is?” 

This is the emptiness of sin.

Sin isn’t just doing bad things. Sin is also taking good things and making them ultimate things. Harold took a good thing like winning gold at the Olympics and turned it into an ultimate thing that ended up enslaving him, disappointing him, and leaving him empty.

Are you empty? What good thing have you turned into an ultimate thing?

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