|“Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it.” — I Corinthians 9:24
One of the last sporting events that took place before the current stay-at-home order went into effect was the L.A. Marathon. While I’m not a runner, I find myself compelled to watch every year. It’s fascinating to hear the stories. Every runner has a motivation. For the elite runners, it’s truly about finishing first, personal best times, and pushing the body to its limit. For Jim Davis, a 79-year-old prayer warrior in our church, and a group of Legacy Runners, it’s about maintaining their status as the group that has run all 35 years of the L.A. Marathon. Amazing!
But for the vast majority of runners, their “prize” looks different. Maybe they battled and beat an illness, and pressing in to conquer this marathon is their victory lap. Others have been on a journey toward health for some time, and this is their mountain peak experience. Still others were raising money and awareness for a cause that’s near and dear to their hearts. Some crossed the finish line in just a few hours, others finished with the sunset.
It doesn’t matter what the prize is, there is work to be done in order to receive the prize. Sure, Marathon day is exciting and triumphant. But what does it take for those runners to be able to complete that 26.2 miles on race day? Most of them laced up their shoes day after day, all year long, in all kinds of weather, regardless of the distractions around them. They pressed on through pain; they got hurt, endured setbacks in their training, then laced up their shoes again. All of that happened, day after day, with no one cheering, no one paying attention. They ran every day in such a way as to win the prize. Sheer discipline.
When I read in I Corinthians 9:24, that I’m to run in such a way as to win the prize, I’m challenged to live a disciplined life — to lace up my spiritual shoes every day and read the Word of God with the consistency of a marathon runner. Sure, there will be rainy days, distractions, even injuries. But if I approach the disciplines of the faith with the tenacity of a long-distance runner, the “race” of my life will be run in such a way as to win.
Join me. Let’s run to win!
Pastor Carmen Quevedo