Monday, July 16, 2012

Onward Chris Froome Soldiers

Seeing two British riders leading the Tour de France at the moment is superb. But even more amazing is the job being done by one of them, Chris Froome.

Although Bradley Wiggins is leading, Froome is just 2 minutes behind, and has done most of the donkey work, dragging Wiggins up mountain after mountain in his slipstream. It's all part of a superbly worked out strategy which Sky are delivering to perfection. It's also clear that (so far) Froome is just as strong a challenger as Wiggins.

But Froome is playing the John the Baptist role: 'he must increase, I must decrease', sacrificing his own chance of glory so that Wiggins can win. A few days ago Froome sprinted clear, realised Wiggins hadn't followed, and dropped back again to see him to the line. It's not only a wonderful exhibition of riding talent, it's a wonderful display of character too. Without Froome, and the rest of his team, it would be hard for Wiggins to contemplate winning the Tour. Even with his massive talent, he needs the team around him to get him through.

Which has set me wondering how much better we do as Christians with a Chris Froome, someone to drag us over the mountains, to keep our pace steady, to keep us in the race, when left to our own devices we'd level out or drop out. Time after time in the Bible, it's when left to their own devices that leaders fall apart: Elijah on his own against the King, Saul without Samuel to guide him, King David separated from his armies and advisors, Peter on his own in the high priests courtyard. By contrast, Paul has Barnabas, Timothy has Paul, Jesus surrounds himself with a team and with people who will pray for him (however badly).

Having just joined a gym in one of my repeated attempts to get fit, I know I'll get more out of it with a training partner, with someone to drag me down there when I don't feel like it, to hold me accountable. If it's up to me, its easy not to bother, to find something else to do, to let entropy set in. That's what happened on every previous occasion anyway. We can motivate and encourage and inspire people as much as we like through our sermons, but that will just get people out of the saddle for a few moments. In the long race, every disciple needs a Chris Froome. And we need to play that role for others: 'it takes more grace than I can tell to play the second fiddle well', but investing in someone else's greatness of character is a vital calling.

1 comment:

  1. To say nothing of Mark Cavendish, the world's best sprinter and the current WORLD CHAMPION who is doing a lot of the fetching and carrying of water bottles, team instructions etc. and surrendering his own chances of glory to keep Wiggins in the yellow jersey. I have been very impressed with his "its what you do" attitude that comes across in interviews. That's humility.