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. (24-27).
Put your heart into it.
I love watching sports, sports of all kinds…Olympics, baseball, football. Even though I am not a basketball fan, I love March Madness, the College Basketball tournament, especially in the early rounds watching the kids from the lower ranked schools give everything they have in the hopes of one win is compelling. The hustle, the drive, the ‘all out’ pursuit of a win or two is extraordinary. It is like watching a Rocky movie, only real life.
Paul makes the case that this is how we should live our Christian faith, all out for Jesus. Holding nothing back, giving our ‘everything’ just like a runner straining for the victory tape.
What does that mean? It means using my resources and time, ability and wisdom to advance the Gospel through the gifts God has given me. Easy to type on a keyboard but much harder to put into practice.
And balance isn’t generally the picture of an athlete in training. When training, an athlete is all out; sleeping, eating, training are all measured to produce the greatest output.
This makes me realize why Paul said a couple of chapters ago that a married person’s life is divided and so he encourages singleness (7:32-35). And dividedness of life grows even more when children enter the picture.
I am realizing there is so much more I could be giving and that I have much to learn when it comes to giving my all for Jesus and advancing His kingdom.
Help me, Lord Jesus, to manage my life in a way that honors You, the Spirit, and the Father. I have so much to learn and so much more to give to You… it is hard and it is scary and it is counter-cultural. I cannot do this on my own. Help me, Lord. Help me. Amen.