Every time that we hear that command we are automatically transported to a race where runners will compete to prove who is the best and fastest one. Even though sometimes the command sounds a little bit different like: “on your mark”, it still reminds us of the race.
What sometimes we do not realize, maybe because we are so interested in the race itself, is that to get to this point the athlete had to do three important things that will define his whole performance. The first one is to have a clear vision of the goal. The athletes must know what the goal is, not only for that race, but for their whole career. When someone choses to be an athlete he/she will need to make life-changing decisions. Is the goal worthy? It is worth enough for me to spend my life perfecting it?
The second one is to acquire all the knowledge that is needed to accomplish that goal. They need to learn everything about the race, the field, the competition, the techniques, etc. Having a coach for this part is a must. The athletes will need to listen and follow their coach. They will learn how the body works, how the race is designed, what is the best plan for the race, etc. They need to be teachable to absorb all the information that will make a difference during the race.
Finally they will go through an extensive time of preparation and training. It takes hours and hours of hard work getting ready for the race. Diet will be changed, discipline, and a strict schedule will take priority over anything else.
The apostle Paul many times uses sports and competition to illustrate the Christian life and ministry. Here is one of the most well-known texts about that: “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 a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. 1Corinthians 9:24-26.” As you can see, Paul tells us that in the Christian life and ministry we need to have a clear vision of our goal and prize. We need to know how to race and we need to prepare as best as we can. In this way we will get the crown.
My friends, all of us who profess the Christian faith are running to get a crown that will last forever. It is crucial that we learn as much as possible about the race and the best way to win. It is also very important to train and prepare as hard as we can.
Our goal must be clear, our knowledge proper, and our preparation intense. In this way our Christian life will be abundant and our Christian ministry productive.
Have a blessed week,