"Don't you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win!" 1 Corinthians 9:24 (NLT)
As we once again embark on the journey known as "the most wonderful time of the year," most folks are making lists and checking them twice, gearing up for the race ahead, and counting down the days and minutes to the finish line on New Year's Day. Another holiday season in the bag, the rushed feeling subsiding - but were you really ever in the game?
My conventional mindset at this time of year is to intentionally slow down, to give thanks to God for the many blessings in my life, and to prepare myself for the expectant waiting of the Advent season. However, Scott's devotional at staff meeting last week was about, of all things, a race. His words were particularly thought-provoking and meaningful to me, and I would like to share excerpts here.
American English is always on the move. The word "game" isn't just a noun describing an athletic event or an interesting diversion with cards or a board. Now the word is often used as a synonym for ability, as in the question, "Have you got game?"
Coach Lad (from the movie WHEN THE GAME STANDS TALL), is known for his expectation - not that his players will produce perfection, but that they will commit to a perfect effort. The game stands tall when those playing the game rise above their abilities and appreciate the larger life that surrounds the field and can be changed by the game. Throughout the movie, the point is made in many ways that what's most important isn't the game itself but the people in the game and what the game brings out of them.
The apostle Paul didn't just believe in participation in the life of faith. He encouraged those who entered the race to run to win. At the very least, he wanted followers of Jesus to run to finish. When he wrote what could have been his epitaph, he said, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith."
We have all experienced a Black Friday trip to a crowded shopping mall that didn't necessarily bring out the best in us or those around us. This holiday season, I am choosing to enjoy the best of all that sparkles in the commercial rat race, but to keep my eyes fixed on the prize that will never fade.