“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.”1 Corinthians 9:24 (NIV)
Wow, how things change with time. As my grandchildren grow, I notice how their world differs from my childhood. For example, at birthday parties, the honoree no longer opens presents at the party. Instead, they take them home to open them. Also, the goodie bags full of prizes given to the guest sometimes seem to cost more than the entire party.
The other difference I notice is how prizes are presented to all the children participating in an event instead of just the winner. I understand the purpose of it, but what is this practice teaching the children? I saw some of this manifest itself in the workplace before I retired when younger employees wanted rewards for just showing up each day. What other impacts could this have in the future?
Seeking the Prize
I wonder if these practices influence how people view the church? Have we become a society that wants a prize for showing up each week for the Sunday service? And, do we appreciate the gift of Salvation, or do we squirrel it away, only enjoying it when we get home? Let’s look to the Bible for some answers.
The Bible tells us about prizes also. In our key verse above, we read Paul’s word imploring us to “run in such a way to get the prize.” So, what is the race Paul mentions, and what is our prize?
The Christian race is different from most other races because it is not a competition against someone else. Instead, our race is a matter of significant consequence, with either heaven or hell as the final result. So, the Christian race is a spiritual exercise that yields earthly and eternal prizes for the participants. We succeed when we imitate the life of love modeled by Jesus. And we can achieve this by sharing the gospel and learning to care more for others than ourselves.
The Earthly Prize
As mentioned above, our race holds earthly and eternal prizes. The earthly rewards include the love, blessing, and grace of Jesus. However, God’s grace and blessings were not given for us to sit in church and feel good for showing up. Instead, they were given that we might not only be blessed but also be a blessing to others. A life filled with grace exercises the gifts that grace provided while spreading the gospel of grace and serving others in a hurting and dying world. But, we must also remember Paul’s warning to us in
Ephesians 2:8-9 (NIV); “8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.”
The Eternal Prize
Eternal life is available to anyone who accepts Jesus as their Lord and Savior (see John 3:16 NIV). This is the prize for just showing up and believing. But those who run the race as described above will receive a crown. Paul explains this further in 1 Corinthians 9:25 (NIV); “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.” So, Paul reminds us why the race is essential in Philippians 3:14 (NIV); “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”The Prize – We are blessed so we can bless others, and when we finish our race, the Lord will reward us. Click To Tweet
Ways to Run the Race
Here are a few ways that you can run the Christian race successfully:
- Give tithes and offerings
- Volunteer in your community
- Donate items to those in need
- Share your talents
- Perform acts of service
- Go on a missionary trip
- Pray for others
- Teach Sunday schools
In contrast to society’s view of prizes and gifts today, the Christian understands that winning the prize involves more than just showing up. Additionally, we need to share our gifts with others so they can join the race with us. We are blessed so we can bless others, and when we finish our race, the Lord will reward us.
“Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.”2 Timothy 4:8 (NIV)
My Lord and Savior. I pray for Your help running the race You have set before me. Guide me daily and help me be all You intended me to be as I follow my path. You are the prize I seek. Let my life be an example to show others to You. In Jesus’ Name, I pray. Amen.
Do you need prayer? I would love to pray for you. Submit your prayer request on my website at https://yvonne-morgan.com/submit-your-prayer-request-here/
Grace and Peace to you,
Yvonne M. Morgan is a Christian #author, #blogger, and #speaker. #BibleGatewayPartner
Matthew 28:19 “Therefore, GO and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.”
24 thoughts on “The Prize”
Alas, that “upward call”. I’ve often commented that I’m working for more than a “Welcome to Heaven”, I want a “Well Done My good and faithful servant”. Thank you for this encouraging post Ms. Yvonne. I pray it serves as a wakeup call for many.
Thanks JD. I too long to hear those words from my Lord and Savior. It makes everything worthwhile. Blessings
Sharing the gifts God has given us is one way to show His love to others. Our ultimate gift will be when we see Him in Heaven. 🙂
Amen Melissa. I pray I can always show His love to others. Thanks and God bless
These are wonderful reminders. Thank you!
Thanks Annie. I appreciate your thoughts. Blessings
Pressing on. Thanks, Yvonne. God bless!
So good!! (As always!) It reminds me of what Paul was writing about in 1 Corinthians about the best spiritual gifts are those that benefit others, such as prophesy, rather than something that benefits self, like speaking in tongues. We are all one in Christ, and that’s the best prize of all.
Being one with fellow Christian is a true prize. Thanks Jessica. I appreciate you and as you do for Christ. Blessings
I love this quote: “A life filled with grace exercises the gifts that grace provided.” And when we share our gifts with others we get back even more. How great is that?
It is so amazing and wonderful. Grace is a gift that I hope we fully understand some day. Thanks Janet. Blessings
Love this quote:
“A life filled with grace exercises the gifts that grace provided while spreading the gospel of grace and serving others in a hurting and dying world.”
Thanks Ava. Grace is such an amazing gift. Blessings
Utilizing the gifts that God has given us to use in service toward others is but one way we can serve the Lord and those in His church.
So true. Thanks Melinda. God bless
Sometimes it’s hard to press on. Thank you for reminding us of what we are pressing toward.
Thanks Karen. It can be hard so I pray the Lord strengthens you. Blessings
Beautiful analogy, Yvonne. I pray to run the race well with the prize in mind while showing others the grace of the gospel along the way so they can join.
I pray that for all of us too. Thanks Karen. Blessings
18 years ago when I sat at my sons first soccer game and found out they would not keep score I thought this is going to be our downfall. It does not prepare kids for a world where things are hard. I watched kids have meltdowns over the simplest things when working in the schools. Thank you for this post. Much needed.
Thanks Jennifer. You are so right and I appreciate your thoughts. Blessings
So much to ponder and reflect on in your message, Yvonne. What really jumped out at me is your reminder that, for Christians, “winning the prize is more than just showing up.” It’s so important that we live out our faith and that requires action. Thank you for sharing.
Thanks Katherine. We do have a role to play in God’s kingdom. Blessings