1 Corinthians 9:24-25 “Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.”
Paul likens this life to a race that we all have to run. Now, there is running for pleasure, running for health, running to compete, and running to survive. I believe our race is to be run not in competition with one another but to do our best and be rewarded for how we run.
Our race is watched very closely by those in Heaven.
Thinking eternally, those who have preceded us to Heaven are cheering for us to run with all our might. Some are even more personal to be the witness God has commanded us to be to their loved ones.
We are given a glimpse in the telling of the rich man in hell who wanted Abraham to send Lazarus to his brothers and warn them of the judgment and punishment awaiting them if they fail to place their faith in God.
Luke 16:27-28 “Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house: For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.”
The running of our race has eternal importance and consequences that will last forever once this life is over. Our faithfulness to daily run the race should guide and govern all our choices.
The heavenly grandstands are filled with those whose race is complete. They have clarity we often lack in the priority of this life.
Hebrews 12:1-2 “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
When we are caught up in the selfishness of fame, fortune, or folly, we forsake the true purpose of why we’re left here on earth after salvation. The sole activity of spreading the gospel throughout the world is why we are not immediately taken to Heaven.
To know we have a Father for whom we run, a Savior who has shown us the way, a cheering section in this race, power, promises, and provision to run, why do we choose laziness, selfishness, or apathy?
It is because we have an enemy who knows the importance of our race as well!
Satan will use his whole arsenal to keep us from being a gospel witness to those around us. He’ll deceive into lessening its importance or getting us to put off today what we can do tomorrow.
The world watched as athletes from around the world competed in the Summer Olympics. We cheered those who won and saw the gritty efforts of those who gave their all. This begs the question:
“If athletes work and train for an earthly moment to be awarded for their efforts, why do we leave off, linger and languish over the race we are given to run that will yield eternal rewards?”
Often, we think ourselves unworthy, incapable, or not as good as others to run.
Ecclesiastes 9:11 “I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.”
God uses the foolish things of this world to confound the wise.
1 Corinthians 1:27-29 “But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence.”
Many a preacher will say that the Christian life is not a sprint that takes a burst of energy but a marathon that requires all of our strength, courage, and fortitude to complete.
We ought to reach the finish line of life, out of breath and spent, having given it our all.
We cannot change what has already been run, but we can genuinely change today and the days ahead. Start today with a renewed zeal to run the best race you can.
Heaven will reveal the fruit of our efforts and give us something we can lay at the feet of our Savior in thanksgiving for the wondrous gift of salvation!