Run for the Prize // 1 Corinthians 9:24

I had a moment the other day. It was late Sunday afternoon and the Braves game just ended. They showed some of the children running the bases at Truist Park to close the telecast. There was this one little boy who couldn’t have been any older than three or four-years-old who was running with serious purpose. He was not fleet of foot; in fact, he was being passed by so many other children that it kinda made me feel sad for him. Watching him for more than just a glance put a smile on my face, however; despite all the other children blowing past him, he had a look of pure joy and determination. I saw a lot of myself in him, I must admit.

I thought about today’s verse as I watched those few seconds at the end of the Braves telecast. The entire verse reads, “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.” That little boy wasn’t going to win any race whatsoever, but he ran like it regardless. Thankfully, the biblical metaphor works really well here. Heaven isn’t reserved for just one person, but any and everyone who strives to get the prize. Philippians 3:14 shows us that Jesus is the prize…not some medal that will tarnish, garland that will wilt, or record waiting to be broken…but Jesus Himself. That’s good news, isn’t it? There will always be someone faster, stronger, smarter, etc., but another’s gait need not prevent us from entering our own starting gate, and their accomplishments along the way will never outshine the eternal glories of life with the Lord available to every single one of us who place their faith in Jesus.

I’ll be honest, I’ve battled some discouragement of late. I know I’m not alone. Can you relate? Some of that discouragement has been used by the enemy to get me to focus on things other than my own run. I confess it and ask for God’s help. And you never know, it might just arrive in the face of a small child hoofing it between bases on a Major League ball field. Sure, others might be older, quicker, smarter, and farther along, but that doesn’t mean you can’t reach the prize. The prize is Christ, and He is cheering for you with each and every step — the gliding and labored ones alike. So let’s run for the prize! How about it? On your mark, get set, goooooooo!