I was reading about Lance Armstrong this morning. The issue of doping to win has been haunting him for a while. Thursday he decided he wasn't going to fight any longer. As he put it, "I refuse to participate in a process that is so one-sided and unfair," So he quit fighting. I am not going to address the issue of doping (which is wrong) or Lance Armstrong's innocence/guilt. But what struck me was this paragraph (taken from Lance Carpenter's report on Yahoo Sports this morning):
"In a matter of months we have learned that college football’s winningest coach enabled a pedophile, the MVP of baseball's All-Star Game used testosterone and cycling's biggest star chose to no longer hold back the mountain of doping allegations against him. It's a sad few weeks when Joe Paterno's statue goes into storage and Melky Cabrara disappears from the pennant race and Lance Armstrong says "no mas." Suddenly, nothing seems sacred anymore."
Suddenly nothing seems sacred anymore. That shouldn't surprise you - it didn't me. We live in a world that is filled with fallen human beings. When we place any one of them on a pedestal and hold them up as the hope of the world, they will soon disappoint. It won't be long before they will fall from the pedestal upon which they have been placed - all because they are frail, fallen, sinful humans who disappoint time and again. To pin our hopes of the goodness of mankind on Lance Armstrong because he was a 7 time winner of the Tour de France and had beaten cancer in his life, is to set up a false sense of hope in mankind. Lance is a sinner. He isn't perfect. He will give in to the pressures of temptation.
But then again, so will you and I. Fallen people that we are, we try to live the "good" life. We do our best to do what is "right." In school our teachers show the children how they are to live, only to fall short themselves of living that way. We are "Baptized to Serve" and yet we fail to serve. No matter how hard we try the words of Psalm 14 come back at us: "They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one." (Psalm 14:3 ESV) Our teachers will disappoint us. Our students will disappoint us. We will disappoint ourselves. We are fallen creatures in a fallen world. Nothing seems sacred anymore.
Except - this is the great news that we have! Except there is One that will never disappoint. There is One who will never fail us. There is One who is perfect. That One is none other than Jesus Christ! Rejoice! We are not left alone in our failures. The heavenly Father sent His one and only Son into this world to be our Savior. (John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.") We have One that we can follow in our lives, One who has not fallen short or fallen into sin. One who was not born into sin like you and me. I was reading in the book of Hebrews and was amazed once again at the wonders of Jesus as the great high priest who did not have to offer sacrifices for Himself. Instead, He offered Himself as the once for all sacrifice upon the cross. "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever." (Hebrews 13:8 ESV) Powerful words.
Where can we turn? Not to Lance Armstrong. Not to our teachers. Not to this pastor. We can turn to Jesus. He is still sacred. He will not be found to be doping. Nor will He be found to be a fraud (though the world continues to try to prove He was a fraud - to no avail).
I end with the word of the writer of Hebrews: "Now may the God of peace, who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus Christ, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working is us that which is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen." (Hebrews 13:20-21 ESV)