Topic: 1 Corinthians 9:25
And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown , but we for an imperishable crown. (1 Cor. 9:25)
It happens once a year and many consider it to be the number one sports event of the year. It's the Super Bowl, where you would like to think that the two best teams in the world play each other. Really it is a single elimination process where whatever one team on a given day happens to beat another team on that day advances, and recent years have proven that while a sports production, the game itself is often mediocre, at best. This year was actually an exception, with two generally defensive teams scoring a total of forty-five points and keeping everyone in suspense until the last minute of play. I am not sure that the two teams in this years game were the best of the best. I still think the Indianapolis Colts should be there, but, like most fans, I am biased.
People pay big bucks, for many more than they can afford, to attend the game, be seen and brag to their friends that they attended "the big game." It really is a made for television spectacular. It has almost become a production where, playing football is also something they do. Unlike all the other games, where one of the two teams have the home field advantage and the local crowd to cheer them on, most super bowl tickets are purchased by corporate America to wine, dine and impress friends and customers. The average person in the stands really doesn't care who wins, as "their" team is rarely in the game.
But, it is all about winning. It has gotten to the point that, rather than being an honor to get to the biggest game, the team that loses is, well, a loser. It is like the headline about the silver medallist in the Olympics that said the person had "lost his quest for greatness." Frankly, I think just getting on an Olympic team is a feat and winning a medal of any color is a special victory. But no, our world sees only winners and losers.
And just what is it that most athletes chase? It is a medal, a trophy, a designation or some tangible or intangible whatever that the sports world has attached great value to. It is amazing, the number of athletes who, after retiring from their sport, fall on hard times and have to sell their rings and trophy's to make ends meet. That's when they find the true value. The re-sale value will put groceries on the table for but a short while, as people generally are not interested in yesterday's sports news or heroes.
People in Jesus' time were nuts over athletics too. That's why He preached and drew so many parallels to athletic events. The quest for winning was something people could relate to. But Jesus pointed to the race, more than to the win. He said that more important than winning is to make sure you are in the right race and chasing the right goals. Why run to win a perishable crown (a laurel wreath) that will wilt in a few days, when you can a race to gain that which never tarnishes and lasts forever... eternal life with God through His son Jesus Christ. Make sure you are running the right race and competing for the right goals. If Jesus is your goal, then you are in the right race.
After all, my Harley has a lot more shine than a Heisman trophy and it's a lot more fun to play with.
Do you yearn to be able to say what Paul said: "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith." (2 Timothy 4:7)