“Do you not know that in a race the runners all compete, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win it” (1 Cor. 9:24).
For over thirty years I was a runner. It’s one of my father’s many gifts to me. He got me going on it by his own example while I was in college, and I continued pretty faithfully until just a few years ago. People have observed that running can be addictive and it surely was for me. Only increasing physical stress and injury broke the habit. A friend told me one day that she had seen me out walking. It was then that I knew I wasn’t running any longer.
At this point in the General Convention it can certainly feel like we are running a race. The “prize” that St. Paul is referring to here is certainly the same as in the Letter to the Philippians, the goal of the kingdom; but here in First Corinthians the emphasis is on the race, on how we run it. The culture of ancient Greece highly prized “excellence,” and St. Paul’s letter here shares some of that same feeling.
How are we running? We want to win, of course, but are we running in a way that will gain the prize? Are we running “aimlessly” as St. Paul goes on to say? If the point is fellowship with God, then are we practicing the spiritual disciplines that will draw us closer to Jesus? Are we living the life he’s calling us to? Or are we just running along without much direction?
Stay focused as you run this race.
- Bishop John