Take a moment to think about those old trophies you might have boxed up somewhere. Do they still have value in your life today? My granddaughter recently won her basketball game and was really excited to show off the medal she and the other players on her team won. That got me thinking. I was reminded of 1 Corinthians 9:24-25 that says, “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. 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.”
There are things we want in life, things that we must work hard for to attain. If you’re an athlete, like the metaphor that Paul uses here, you might train hard and cherish a trophy you receive for winning in your sport. A trophy that sits prominently on your dresser or fireplace mantle, and then moves to the closet. How many attics have boxes of old dusty trophies from an athlete’s past glory days?
Or perhaps you’re not an athlete. Maybe you work super long hours at your job, pushing yourself to make more money, and spend that on nice toys, like a flashy car, or a big house? It doesn’t really matter what the toy or the prize is, eventually it loses value and is replaced with something newer and shinier. In life, we’re never really content with anything for long. So we push ourselves to be better and have more. But in the end, is it really worth it?
In the end, there will always be someone else who’s faster, smarter, and better at whatever you’re doing. But when it comes to being a Christian, isn’t it great to know that God doesn’t expect you to be the best Christian? We train, but it’s not a competition. We aren’t trying to win our salvation. That part has already been done through your faith in Christ. He just wants you to do your best. And when your motivation is to give your best to please God, you’ll eventually end up winning a “crown,” whatever that looks like, in heaven. A “crown” that will never lose value, and will never end up broken or collecting dust in an attic somewhere.