Christians need to be committed to giving their best effort, to "run to win." Every race can only have one winner, but every race can be filled with people giving it everything they have!
In heaven, God will reward your efforts for the Kingdom, in the areas of servanthood, holiness, worship, church attendance and prayer. These are the essential activities of the Christian, as essential to our lives as breathing is. How will you be rewarded when your time on this earth is finished?
1 Corinthians 9:19-27
“Even though I am free of the demands and expectations of everyone, I have voluntarily become a servant to any and all in order to reach a wide range of people: religious, nonreligious, meticulous moralists, loose-living immoralists, the defeated, the demoralized—whoever. I didn’t take on their way of life. I kept my bearings in Christ—but I entered their world and tried to experience things from their point of view. I’ve become just about every sort of servant there is in my attempts to lead those I meet into a God-saved life. I did all this because of the Message. I didn’t just want to talk about it; I wanted to be in on it!
"You’ve all been to the stadium and seen the athletes race. Everyone runs; one wins. Run to win. All good athletes train hard. They do it for a gold medal that tarnishes and fades. You’re after one that’s gold eternally.
"I don’t know about you, but I’m running hard for the finish line. I’m giving it everything I’ve got. No sloppy living for me! I’m staying alert and in top condition. I’m not going to get caught napping, telling everyone else all about it and then missing out myself” (The Message).
Much of our efforts on this earth are spent in pursuit of rewards that ultimately matter little. Trophies are nice, but sooner or later they're always put into storage.
Paul told the members of the house churches he planted in Corinth to focus their energies and their efforts on things that will last - the things of God - and to pursue them with more effort than they'd put into an athletic contest.
Run to win, not to merely survive the race.
There are two dates in your life which can be said to represent the "end zones" of your life. One has been determined: the date of your birth. One has yet to be determined: the date of your death. Decide now that you will make the most of your life for the Kingdom's sake, for as long as you have field to cover!
The Christian life is not a team sport. You will not win unless you bring others into the race with you.
It's impossible to win if you quit, and it's impossible to lose if you don't quit.
Thank You for giving me a role to play in Your Kingdom, and gifts and talents with which to glorify You. Order my steps that I may run the race before me to win, not just to survive. I eagerly anticipate the rewards You have prepared for me in heaven for running the race with excellence!
Give me supernatural vision and wisdom and insight to identify the opportunities You have given me to win others for Your Kingdom. Make me a winner in the race that counts, Heavenly Father - the race of holiness and servanthood! Make me a trophy of Your grace, today and every day.
In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ – Jehovah Joshua Messiah – I pray. Amen!