Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. 2 Corinthians 4:1
Paul recognizes the danger that the Corinthians will lose heart. Losing heart is quite a quaint expression. It means – to stop believing you can succeed and to become discouraged. The use of the word “heart” is a reminder of the ancient world concept of the heart not as a muscle which pumps blood but as the centre of one’s emotions, one’s whole being.
In verse 16 Paul repeats the warning “Therefore we do not lose heart”. What does the “therefore” mean? In the previous verse Paul wrote: “we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you to himself. All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God”. If the Corinthians are in danger of losing heart they are to remember what Jesus has done for them and what he is going to do for them.
Athletes can be prone to losing heart. I remember a young British athlete in Rio failing to progress from prelim to semi-final by the tiniest margin. Her comment after the race was “I ran tragically badly”. When I pointed out the tiny margin in fractions of a second between success and failure, she would have none of it. She had not only run badly but tragically badly.
When we understand the big picture and what Jesus has done for us and will do for us, it should stop us from losing heart. How do we apply this to our sport? I like what the Irish Rugby captain used to say: “It is very important who is going to win and of little importance who has won”. I think he was saying go into the competition and give it 100% but when it is over, move on. Stuart Weir