DayBreaks for 06/13/13 – To Stand by the King
1 Corinthians 9:24-27 (NLT) – Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! 25 All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. 26 So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. 27 I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.
There is an old story about the Greek Marathon. Muscular, conditioned runners paced nervously near the starting line for the long-distance race. The time was near. They “shook out” their muscles, inhaled deeply, and put on their “game faces.” In the midst of it all, a young stranger took his place at the starting line. His physique was awesome. Taking no notice of the other contestants, he stared straight ahead. Two prizes would be awarded the winner of the Marathon: a magnificent bouquet of flowers and the honor of standing beside the king until the conclusion of other contests. There seemed to be no question among the runners about who would win the prize.
It is alleged that the stranger was offered money not to run. Someone else attempted to bribe him with property. Refusing the offers, he toed the mark and awaited the signal to run. When the signal was given, he was the first away. At the finish line, he was the first to cross, well ahead of the rest. When it was all done, someone asked the young man if he thought the flowers were worth as much as the money and property he had refused. He replied, “I did not enter the race for the flowers. I ran so that I could stand beside my king!”
Why are you attempting to live the Christian life? Is it so you can have a “mansion” in heaven? (How I hate the lyrics to that old song, “A Mansion Over the Hilltop”! Talk about a materialistic view of Christianity!) Or is it so you can with the “eternal prize”…which won’t be the mansion, but rather the privilege of living in His Presence for all eternity? He is, as Scripture says in Gen. 15:1, that He is the “very great reward” – nothing else can begin to compare.
The Greeks prized the bouquet of flowers…but it was just a bouquet of flowers destined to die and fade. God doesn’t do either…and He never will.
One more rather scary thought from the last verse: if the apostle Paul was afraid of possibly being disqualified from the prize, what should I think of my chances? Of course, let us take comfort in knowing it isn’t our righteousness, but His that matters…and that, in and of itself, is a more than sufficient. Let us live discerning lives, regardless!
PRAYER: Lord, we long for You, the very great reward! Let us run the race for the right reasons! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright 2013 by Galen C. Dalrymple.
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