GET TOGTHER – Which Prize Are You Passionate About?
1Co 9:24,25 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. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown.
Well, this is something that I really didn’t want to say, but it is something that I have been pondering. I have been pondering the question of if the Apostle Paul were alive today what would he say if he attended one of our athletic events with us? I am sure each of you have your own opinions about that and some of that if we discussed it would be better over a cup of coffee, or lunch. On the other hand, there are a few things that I believe that the Holy Spirit has put on my heart to write about.
As someone who played, coached, and had children and now grandchildren involved in sports. I enjoy watching various athletic contests. I think that sports can either be a gift from God. Or that it can be an idol in our lives. At one time in my life, it was an idol. An idol is anything that we give a higher loyalty, affection, and more time to than to God.
I can remember when I was first asked to teach Sunday School. and also about that time J.J. was working with the youth where we attended church. We had to make a choice were we going to commit to being there in the Fall. At that time, we had season tickets to football games at one of our major Universities. With games being played at so many different times of the day we had to make a commitment one way, or the other. Again, I have been to many ballgames with our son coaching and at other times. But when that came up, we had to make a choice. I believe that if I had not taught the Sunday School class that my affection for my football team would have been an idol.
As much as I enjoy sports, I know that there is a more important race to run. I also know that it is easy for sports to become too big and to be an idol in our lives. I don’t want my love for sports to keep me from meeting with my brothers and sisters in Christ in corporate worship.
Can I be honest with you about something? When I was in Guatemala this past Summer, I thought about the Christians that I met there and what they did on the weekend. They either met in corporate worship or were at work in ministry in some way. Their main concerns were not who was going to win the championship or beat their rival. Their main concern and passion was serving the Lord Jesus Christ.
I don’t want to be a hypocrite. I still watch ballgames. I attended a college game a few weeks ago. But my thoughts often run like this when I do. I think about how many of the souls that are in the stadium that day will spend eternity in Heaven. How many of us may be more concerned about a temporary prize such as the score in the ballgame? Are we concerned more about where our team is ranked than we are for souls to come into the Kingdom? Are we more concerned if our team will beat our rivals than our concern for how our adversary the devil is getting such a foothold in our culture?
Jesus said in Mt 6:19-21 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal;”but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. I won a trophy in high school and I am not sure where it is now. We had a softball team that won a lot of trophies. I haven’t seen them in years. There is nothing wrong with doing your best and trying to win. I would be a liar if I said that losing was fun. But I praise God that Jesus has told us that there are things laid up for the faithful servant of God that neither moth nor rust can destroy.
What prize do you have the most passion for? Is it a temporary prize? Or is it a prize that will last for eternity? Do you approach sports, and any other recreational activity as a gift from God? Or is it an idol in your life? It has been said many times all of these can be good things with the right approach, or they can become gods to us. And I can tell you from experience that they make very poor gods.
Let Us Pray
Lord, you have given us some good things like sports in our lives. These are things that we can experience You in. On the other hand, Lord, we know that these things can become idols in our lives and take on too much importance. Lord help us to no matter what we do to do it all heartily unto You. Help us not to be overconsumed with the prize that is perishing but empower us to strive for the crown that never perishes.
In Jesus Name
Love you all!
PS For those in Northwest Alabama our Broadcast Redeeming the Time comes on at 9:30 A.M. AND 9:30 P.M. on Sunday morning and Sunday night. That is on Spectrum Channel 10. In Jasper, it is on TV 16.