"Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it....v26, Therefore, I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air."
1 Corinthians 9:24,26
I've been thinking a lot about what it means to run the race Paul talks about in 1Corinthians 9:24-27. He tells us to run the race to obtain the prize. What prize is he talking about? It's not a trophy or a plaque to hang on the wall, and it's not a gold medal to wear around your neck; nothing like that. It's not so much something you get as it is something you accomplish. Obviously, you reach the finish line on the last day of your life. When you step over the line and the race is finished -you will either have won or not. There won't be another chance to win, and you get no trial runs...only one try...that's it. When your foot touches that line the stopwatch button is pressed down and the running shoes come off, the race is over. On the other side of that line stands the Judge who determines the winners and there are only two things that will matter at the end - What you did with the life He gave you and what you did with His Son.
I've decided to crawl over the line...yes crawl. I'm determined to be incapable of running when I get to the finish line - not one ounce of strength left, completely pooped out, used up, worn out...done! I want to run in such a way I use every bit of energy I have; every gift, opportunity, deed, kind word - holding nothing back. I want my foot to touch the line with no regrets, no words unsaid, no love withheld or turned away, and with my shoes in need of repair. I want to be emptied out and leave no left overs behind - to use it all for Him.
It's a new year with new opportunities...good works God planned for each of us to do. People to love and God's Son to share. Let's lace up our shoes and run the race of 2011 in such a way that will wear the soles right off, and use ourselves up for Him.
Erma Bombeck said it beautifully -
"When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would have not a single bit of talent left and could say, 'I used everything You gave me.'"
"...forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus."