1 Cor 9:24-27 “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore, I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.”
The Commonwealth games began this week. Over the next 10 days we will see world class athletes bring their best, to win. We appreciate what it takes to compete at such an elite level. Talent alone is not enough. These women and men have extraordinary discipline, sacrifice, courage.
No wonder Paul took inspiration from athletic endeavours. Here was an extraordinary human pursuit for a glory which does not last. Why would not followers of Jesus bring equivalent discipline, sacrifice, courage to pursue that which is eternal? Great question. Do we? And if so, how?
It fascinates me how much of the work an athlete does is not in the competing. Training involves weights, drills, diet, fundamentals, repetition, psychology, rest. Off the field they prepare mind and body to be fully ready for the game. Is there not a parallel in the life of faith? Our time in personal bible reading and prayer, corporate worship, with our faith community prepares us to “run in such a way as to get the prize”. When the challenge comes, we are ready in character and action to overcome it. When issues arise, we have sown into our mind and heart the wisdom required to resolve it.
Do not miss we are in the race of life. The preparation of the athlete is to win. They may not, but they prepare to bring their best. Expect the same in faith. Laziness and complacency never won gold. Neither will complacent faith achieve much in your life, our world or eternity