Don’t you know that all the runners in the stadium run, but only one gets the prize? So run to win. . . . I do this to be sure that I myself won’t be disqualified after preaching to others. 1 Corinthians 9:24-27
Lately I’ve spent a lot of time on a treadmill. 3-4 miles a day on a treadmill at the gym. Why? Because I felt like a whale at 308 pounds! Over a few months, I’ve lost 15-20 pounds and feel less “whale-ish.” I use a treadmill because it provides less impact on my knees, back, and ankles. I can do that and get almost as much result as if I jogged on the track or road. I don’t compete against anyone but myself.
The Christian race, though, cannot be run on a treadmill. We compete in public. We are running in a race against many competitors. Some are human, some are “powers and principalities.” These runners are seeking to enlist other runners in the race, to run on their team.
Sure, we run to win the race, but an earthly trophy is never our goal. We run to get a trophy that can’t be seen with the eye, not on this earth anyway. We also run to inspire spectators to join the race (thankfully, this is not the case in real track meets. Imagine what would happen! Can you say, “chaos ensued?”).
So, our discipline, our training, isn’t just so that we win the race. Our discipline keeps us able to inspire future “runners” with our integrity, with our focus and devotion to “the race.” Nobody wants to join a race when all they see are sloppy, lazy, petty, and jealous runners.
Remember, there is always a stadium full of spectators whenever we run. Therefore, run to win – the crowd as well as the prize.