by Tom Chase
“Run in such a way to get the prize,” Paul’s admonition to the church (1 Corinthians 9:19-27) kept going though my mind. The day of the AWANA skate night was drawing nearer. You see, one activity that happens during the evening is the races. They split the guys and the girls and then by various ages competing to see who can make one lap the fastest. I decided to skate that night in part because of the race. Here was my chance to win the prize. Don’t misunderstand me, I had no delusional ideas about wining the race – I am not a great skater. In fact, I had chosen not to skate the previous year for my own safety and perhaps the safety of others. But this year was different. I wanted to win the prize so I chose to skate and I entered the race. As it turned out, I won the prize for which I was racing! How is that possible?
The prize for which I risked body and limb was a free soda from the concession stand. They give a coupon to all the race participants. So I entered and I won! Shortly after the race, I was enjoying the spoils of my labors with a smile on my face.
There is a parallel to this in my spiritual life. One that I am finding challenging.
We as believers find ourselves in a race in which the prize we are seeking (or at least should be) is not always the same as the participants around us.
So what then is to be our goal, the prize we are seeking? It is more than salvation. It is far more than that. We grow in relationship with the creator God through Christ. Paul’s prayer for us, in Philippians 1:9, as Pastor Martin shared is, “…that our love [for God] may abound more and more …” It is in the context of this relationship that we are compelled further. God has given each of us, varying interests, gifts and abilities, and more recently called “affinities,” in order to make Christ known. It is in these, that sharing Christ should be most natural.
For me, sharing Christ has not become natural enough. Sharing Christ, the good news, needs to really be my affinity, my desire, and my passion. If that is my main pursuit, then my interests, gifts and abilities become aids to that end. This is a good place to begin. However, Paul not only shares Christ through areas of his own interests but takes it even further, “I have become all things to all men, so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the Gospel, that I may share in its blessings” (1 Cor. 9:22-23). Wherever we are that’s where we should start.
Lord, use our voices. Lord, use our hands. Lord, use our lives: They are yours, We are an offering …
Then we too may share in the blessings of the gospel. What a prize to hear Jesus say, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”