Day 10 - February 24, 2018

Running for the Prize

1 Corinthians 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.” 1 Corinthians 9:24-27

In my freshman year of high school, I had gone into training to run the 1 mile and 2 mile races for my track team. At fourteen, I was a 4’10’’ and a bean pole, nonthreatening to anyone looking on. In middle school, I had run the same races, but had not been trained well. My high school coach saw potential in me and began training me hard. By the end of my freshman year, I was beginning to excel. Coach had been drilling technique and strategy in my head. At regionals, opportunity arose. I was running the mile race. I was pacing well, the best I had felt all season…and as I rounded the last bend of the 4 laps, I realized I still had kick in my legs. I heard my coach’s voice in my head… “leave it all on the track…finish strong…cat and mouse…catch that girl!” I took a deep breath, picked up my knees, and began sprinting with everything in me. As we crossed the finish line, the girl in front of me slowed her stride and I passed her, earning myself third place, and securing an opportunity to run at the state competition. I saw coach jump with delight…he caught me in his arms and began to cheer. I had blown away my personal best by more than thirty seconds, running a 5:52 mile. I would go on to qualify in the two mile as well, breaking the 13 minute mark, a freshman taking my place for the state meet.

At fourteen, I was learning what it meant to persevere, to push myself to the limit, to hear the voice of my coach and respond accordingly. When I read Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 9, I am taken back to that race…I didn’t win, but I found strength within myself to earn a place at state. As Christian people, we know that we cannot earn our salvation…we cannot win the race ourselves; however, we are called to run like the one who did win…Jesus Christ. Jesus calls us to follow after him, to live our lives as living sacrifices, filled with the Holy Spirit, transformed in love that the world might come to know Him as Lord and Savior. We are called to practice discipline, to train our minds, hearts, bodies, and spirits that we might serve God and make a difference in our world. During this Lenten season, in what ways can you be in training to serve God more effectively? How can you train like one who seeks the prize…like the One who has already won it for us?!

Lord God, work in me today, help me to hear Your voice as you coach me, train me, refine me to serve in your Kingdom. Lord, may I be more like Your Son everyday. Amen.
submitted by the Reverend Jessica Henks

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