Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? 1 Corinthians 9:24
What is Christian preaching when stated in gymnastic or athletic terms? Someone has said, “It is a spiritual locker-room address in which a spiritual coach asks a spiritual team to be ready to go out there and win one for Jesus.”
One’s first impression might be that it is improper to drag in sports when referring to religion. Yet this is the very thing the apostle Paul did in chapter 9 of 1 Corinthians. There he discusses the length to which he will go – and to what extent he will exercise his Christian freedom – to win people for Christ. He writes, “I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some" (1Corinthians 9:22). He says it is his desire to win "those not having the Law [Gentiles]” (v. 21), as well as those under the Law – Jews.
For the apostle to be all things to all people for the sake of the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ requires considerable effort. He has to exercise and train. In this connection he comes to speak of himself as an athlete getting ready for the Greek games. He proposes to run and to box for a purpose: to “share the prize,” namely the crown of everlasting life with all who will believe the Gospel. He knows that his own efforts will not accomplish this. But he will get it done nevertheless, for God’s powerful and appealing grace is made perfect in Paul’s human weakness.
As Christians we are members of Christ’s church. We are all His disciples and witnesses, His performers in the arena of Christian living. With Saint Paul – and with the person quoted at the beginning – we want to go out there and win one for Jesus. We keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, “who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God’ (Hebrews 12:2).
PRAYER: O Holy Spirit, guide me to gain souls for Christ through the Gospel. Amen.
(Devotions from "With Jesus Every Day" copyright 1997, CPH. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be printed, reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission of Concordia Publishing House. Permission is granted for one-time emailing of this link to a friend. For information on other devotional material, please contact CPH at 800-325-3040 or visit CPH at www.cph.org.)