“Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.” (1 Corinthians 9:24,25)
All the training of an athlete is geared toward one thing: winning the victor’s crown. Who goes into a race wanting to take second place? Athletes “go for the gold.” Why? Because there is far more glory and far greater joy in taking the gold than in the silver. The winner receives the highest praise.
There is a prize to obtain in the Christian life. It is not awarded in this life though. It is not bestowed upon us by men. It is the reward that God gives to His good and faithful servants. We must keep our eyes on the prize, envisioning that day when our Lord will say, “Well done! Enter into the joy of your Lord!”
Now it is possible to receive a little reward because we’ve been slothful in the work of the Lord. But it is also possible to receive no reward, even when we’ve done a lot, because it was done for the applause of men. Jesus said in such a case we already received our reward. (Matt. 6:1-5) We lived for men to make us happy with their approving smiles and pats on the back.
The choice is ours. We can reach for a corruptible or incorruptible crown. We can labor for heaven’s eternal gold or earth’s passing tributes. Run, so you may obtain the greater reward and find the greater jubilation.