“Do you not know that the runners in a stadium all race,
but only one receives the prize?
Run in such a way that you may win.”
– 1 Corinthians 9:24
100%! As coaches, we’re always asking our athletes to give their all when they compete. Rarely do we get it. I remember as a young track coach having my athletes run laps as part of their training. There was a section of the route that went behind a building and I would lose sight of the runners for a brief time. It didn’t take long for me to realize some of the athletes were taking advantage of that situation by walking when out of sight of my watchful eye. On one occasion, I even caught two runners hiding behind the building waiting for the other runners to come back around, cutting off a complete lap. To give 100% has a cost most are not willing to pay. Athletes who take shortcuts or are half-hearted in their efforts seldom reach the finish line first. To win takes every ounce of an athlete’s heart, body and soul.
Paul reminds us that the Christian life is like a race. To win takes tremendous effort! He knew many Corinthians had attended the Isthmian Games near Corinth and were familiar with athletic events. He is telling them that they must do everything in their power to share the good news of Jesus Christ. Paul took a job on the side so he could preach. He did whatever was needed to win people to the Lord. These efforts often resulted in hardship, but Paul was determined to give 100% to the call God had given him. He was running with everything he had and his eyes were on the finish line, not what was going on around him. Are you giving your all or settling for a half-hearted effort? Are you running for the prize or are you content just to be in the race?
Lord Jesus, I want to give 100% today because You gave your all for me. Amen.