“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.” ~ 1 Corinthians 9:24
Can I be honest? I’m better at running really hard than I am at knowing what the prize even is! Paul continues, “No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.” Yeah, I’m certainly not beating my body about anything. (In the literal sense.)
I’ve never met anyone who is truly up to that challenge. Sorry Paul.
This passage, as familiar as it is, confuses me. It’s really clear what Paul’s prize is– winning souls. (v. 19) But that passage isn’t prescriptive and the language isn’t inclusive to assume that the prize/goal for every Christian is to preach to win lost souls.
It’s confusing because it is so direct yet so ambiguous.
Yet for the rest of us. For those who aren’t apostles. For those of us who aren’t hard-wired as preachers or evangelists… we want a prize, too!?!
Get Your Prize!
I’ve learned to love Paul’s ambiguity. While 1 Corinthians describes this prize, Paul life had times where other prizes were his muse. The point wasn’t that his prize was THE prize it’s that God gave him a pursuit and he went after it with his all.
Let’s us cast off the silliness of prescriptive, exacting prizes and recklessly chase the prize God has laid on our hearts for today.
Don’t chase Paul’s prize. Chase yours.