If family, friends and fans of these Nigerian Olympics athletes: Favour Ofili, Ruth Usoro, Chidi Okezie, Onyekwere Chioma, Echikunowoche Annette, Chukwuma Rosemary, Knowledge Omovoh, Glory Patrick, Yinka Ajayi and Tima Godbless are not happy at the moment, what is the state of the athletes themselves? If they are not happy because their dreams of seeing their beloved stars participate in the world’s biggest sports stage, the Olympics, has evaporated with the disqualification handed them by the Athletics Integrity Unit, what can be said of the ten athletes after their rigorous preparations for the big stage? What can best console and compensate for this huge disappointment?
While the Nigerian conscience, and authorities concerned look in the mirror and refuse the temptation to ignore what they find, many Christians are taking seriously the symbolic meaning of the unfortunate incident. They are not letting pass the opportunity to reflect on their own journey so far. This set of Christians are those who constantly wonder about their eventual appearance on the ultimate stage of all – appearing before the presence of God to receive their report card – when they have done their time on this side and begun their march into the long tomorrow. For them, the most important passage in the entire bible is Matthew 7:21-27:
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’
“Therefore, whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: And the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.
“But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”
My neighbour says his brother has printed and posted the above passages all around his bedside. His brother said he wanted the verses to be the first thing he saw in the morning and the last thing he saw before he fell asleep. He is more interested in looking at them before closing his eyes every night. He doesn’t wish to sleep every night without settling his account with God. By that he means sincerely asking for forgiveness for every sin of omission or commission remaining in his account of the day. He says he cannot afford to be disqualified on the most important stage of all. He says Nigerian conscience and authorities, will hopefully, turn around and do the right thing for the disqualified athletes, and institutionalize processes that make ensure there is never a repeat of the incident, but if disqualified by God, there is no conscience or authority anywhere that can undo the damage of disqualification. May you not be disqualified! Somebody say, Amen.