Run the Race
Paul reminds us in Philippians 3:12-14, “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on… Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
This text makes me think of a story I recently read about long-distance runner Abel Kirui. Kirui is a World Championship marathon runner who has set amazing marathon records. Yet what is impressive is that Kirui says he finds motivation in bringing glory to God. Every time he finishes a race, he thanks God and drops to his knees to pray as celebration. Kirui’s spiritual influence came from his mother, who encouraged him to go to church on Sabbaths and pray every morning. Today, Kirui gets up early every morning to pray and asks God to give him strength to run. This makes him open to hearing God’s will and direction for his life. What I like most about Kirui’s story is that although he works arduously to meet his running goals, he more importantly puts God first, pressing towards a different goal.
Most athletes will dedicate their lives to training and striving to win the ultimate trophy in their respective sport. Some will do anything to experience a taste of glory. In Ancient Greece, the Olympic games were an integral part of society and religion. The games were deeply rooted in faith and athletes were encouraged to dedicate their entire lives to prepare for the games. The incentive? The victors of the games brought honor to themselves, their families and their hometowns. Yet, for as much as they persisted and triumphed, their success was only temporary.
Paul tells us that we too are competing in a very important race with eternal implications. The race of life can be tough and discouraging, and many give up along the way. However, the apostle also reminds those who decide to stay on course that they are not competing in vain. God invites us to press forward, and He in turn will give us the endurance, perseverance and faith to finish the race. The finish line which lies in heaven is getting closer and closer each day.
Let us keep our eyes fixed on the one true prize, for God’s glorious and eternal reward is worth far more than any earthly reward!
By Lee-Roy Chacon, President