Sunday, February 6, 2011

Run to Win!

“Do you know that the runners in the stadium all run in the race, but only one wins the prize? Run so as to win. Every athlete exercises discipline in every way. They do it to win a perishable crown, but we an imperishable one.” 1 Corinthians 24-25

Everyone in the world is passionate about at least one thing, if not more. And my definition for something you’re passionate about is that you are willing to lose sleep to do it. For instance, some people are passionate about playing sports. And I have seen young people get up every morning at 5:00am in order to practice their sport if that is the only time they can get into the gym or rink or pool. I have also seen people up and ready to go on a Saturday after a long week of school or work, to travel for several hours for a soccer game, gymnastics meet or basketball tournament.

I think some people are passionate about shopping. They get up at 2:00am the day after Thanksgiving and join the thousands upon thousands of folks trying to snag a sweet deal on electronics or other stuff for themselves or for holiday gifts. I think some people (especially young people) are very passionate about friendships and relationships. They text thousands of times per month, they stay up late chatting on-line and they are constantly checking their facebook accounts.

And while I believe there are certainly some things in the world that are morally unacceptable for us to be passionate about, the types of things I just mentioned are not bad to be passionate about. But ask yourself this question: am I just as passionate about my relationship with Jesus as I am about…sports…shopping…friends…or…fill in the blank? I think this is a legitimate question we need to ask ourselves. Because when we die and stand before the Lord to see if we are worthy of entrance into heaven, it is not going to matter how many goals we scored, how much money we saved at the store or how many facebook friends we have. The only thing that is going to matter is did we love God and love others with passion? Did we run the race of faith like we were trying to win? Or did we run after so many things of this earth that we had not the time nor interest in our Lord?

Even teams that have won the Super Bowl want to win it again, and again, and again. Why? Because that awesome feeling and experience of being the world champions is fleeting and before you know it, the heroes of the Super Bowl are changing their kids’ diapers, taking out the trash and doing the dishes just like you and me. And they probably don’t feel like Super Bowl champs in those moments. And then come summer they are back in training camp running two-a-days with coaches screaming in the faces and I am SURE they don’t feel like the champs then. Then they go through another hard season of injuries and pain and time away from their families and they want something to show for all of that sacrifice. But in the end, how many people could name who played in Super Bowl IX off the top of their heads without looking it up? The point is that the feeling is passing, the Lombardi Trophy is a perishable prize, as are all of the accolades, awards and accomplishments of this world.

So am I saying we should not strive for excellence on the playing fields, or try to get good deals on things we buy, or stop putting effort into our friendships? Of course not. But if we have more passion about these things than we do about loving and following Jesus, then we are deluding ourselves and putting too much energy and effort into things that will be here today and gone tomorrow. We were made for the eternal, for the permanent, for things that are imperishable. Do our desires, thoughts and goals acknowledge this, or are we settling for prizes that will leave us empty in the end?

Dear Jesus, I want to live my life with passion for You. Help me to always keep my eyes on the prize of heaven and do everything with this goal in mind. Amen.

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