The Eternal Prize
"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." -1 Corinthians 9:24-25 (NIV)
As a member of the sports media, I hear quite a few stories about athletes who build their entire lives around their sport. They eat, sleep, breathe and live specifically to achieve their personal athletic goals. It consumes so much of their mind that they don’t focus on anything else.
But then something unexpected happens. It could be a variety of things: injury, illness, or whatever. Suddenly, they are stripped of the sport that had occupied so much of their time and energy. And when it’s gone, they’re left with nothing. Complete emptiness.
It is at this point that many athletes realize they need something more—something that can’t be found in trophies or medals, something that is eternal. And this is exactly where God wants them.
God has brought them to that point for them to realize their need for Him and to show them that the things of this world are temporary. And that includes sports. Nothing will last forever except the crown of life that can only be found in a relationship with Jesus Christ.
What is your motivation for competing? Are your goals centered around record books, championships or trophies? Or are your sights set on a prize of more lasting value? Today, make sure that the most important race you are running is the one that offers the prize of eternity. Run to “get a crown that will last forever.”
1. Think back to a time when you achieved an athletic goal or were successful in a competition. How long did the joy of that achievement last?
2. How does the joy you experienced in that particular event compare to the joy of the Lord?
3. How would you react if your sport were taken away from you today?
Matthew 6:19-21; 2 Corinthians 5:14-15; Colossians 3:23-24
God, help me to keep my eyes focused on the eternal prize. I want You to be first in my priorities and I want to compete for Your glory, not mine. In the name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.