Go For the Gold
The RIO Games are just around the corner. It makes me think of the words of Paul who often used metaphoric language and imagery from the world of athletics.
I Corinthians 9:22-27: “I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings. Do you know that in a race all runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore, I do not run like a man running aimlessly, I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.” Go for the gold.
Notice 5 things Paul is saying to Christians
1. ”By all means…save some.” Whatever you do and by whatever creative means you can do it, but sure that you are reaching lost people for my Name. There is nothing more important to God than people. It is why Jesus came and gave His life…FOR YOU. And For all who would believe.
2. “Do it for Jesus.” Paul reached out for the sake of the gospel. He did it for the Kingdom of Jesus Christ. He wanted to serve His Lord, advance God’s missions, and point more and more people to the Savior. We give and serve and sacrifice ultimately and firstly for Jesus. We are His hands and feet. We live to honor and serve our Lord.
3. “Run to win.” Paul is essentially saying, I’m going for the gold. I want my life to count and I am running to “win the prize.” I love the focus and tenacity here. When it comes to advancing God’s Kingdom, the Lord wants us to run to win. He wants us to give our very best and to do our very best to serve Him and reach others.
4. ”Only two things last forever…God’s Word & people.” Run to win a crown that will last, Paul says. In other words, what we do for Christ will last…especially when it comes to reaching people with the His salvation message. In the John 15, we are told to bear fruit that will last. That’s both character fruit and people fruit. We are to reproduce our Christian faith in the lives of others. Good News is for sharing. We are not to hoard or keep the salvation message to ourselves, we must share.
5. “Be on mission & sacrifice to win.” Paul reminds us that the great athlete does not run aimlessly or the gold medal boxer does not throw punches wildly into the air. No, the great runner and the great fighter knows what they are doing and they have a mindset and mission that is purposeful.
By way of application, I believe God is challenging us to do 4 things (with Olympic focus and sacrifice).
Will you join me?
• Pray for the lost.
• Invite people to church.
• Give to reach the lost.
• Serve to reach the lost.