1 Corinthians 9:24 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.
Today we begin a new year. We have no way of knowing what 2019 has in store for us, but we do know the prize that awaits us at the end of our years – the crown of eternal life. Decide today that 2019 will be a year in which you run for the prize.
In one respect, the prize is already yours. Jesus won it for you when he ran the race of life perfectly in your place and when he suffered and died for all the times you have strayed off track. Even as a little child, Jesus suffered exile from his native country to ensure your heavenly crown.
Yet, in another sense, we are still running to get the prize. How carefully we need to run! We need to train so that our spiritual strength doesn’t give out when it is most needed.
Many years ago a group of missionaries in Brazil got together with their families for a retreat. There were many young children there, and one day little Ethan wanted to run a race. He asked his younger brother Isaac to race with him, but Isaac turned him down. So he asked one of the girls, Emily, who was even younger than Isaac, if she would run a race against him. Emily answered, “Sure, Ethan, I’ll race with you, but let’s race holding hands.” And as the two children went, holding hands, they both won the prize.
This is the way Christians run the race of life. We race “holding hands” with others. Instead of thinking of ourselves, we train ourselves to help fellow believers reach the prize that they too are running for. We run for our own lives, but we run also for the lives of others. The missionary Paul was willing to give up everything (except the prize, of course) to help others run the race.
When you stumble along the way, run to Jesus for forgiveness. He is the source of your life. Then get up and keep running toward eternal life. Make 2019 another year in which you run the race to take hold of the eternal life to which God called you in Christ.