The Prize

“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

Ah, the prize! I am wired to win the prize. Well, sometimes I am.

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.

Photo credit: Daniel Coomber via Flickr (Creative Commons)
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4 responses to “The Prize”

  1. Andy Gill Avatar

    I dunno, don’t claim to be a scholar, or even know what the word “prize” translates into in the greek… but I read the passage and think that Paul, when he says prize, is referring also to Christ. Christ being the prize, and yes he’s striving after the calling God gave him… but pressing on towards his goal (again that also being Christ Jesus)… (Phil 3:14) 

    good post. good reminder

    1. Adam McLane Avatar

      This is stuff I’m thinking about over coffee. Never claimed to be a scholar or a commentator writer. 🙂 

      1. Andy Gill Avatar

        haha my bad, I should emphasized I was talking in regards to myself, that I personally don’t claim to be a scholar… 

        but good thoughts, and speaking of coffee… it’s about that time for me. 🙂 

  2. Christopher Adkins Avatar

    We just talked about this passage last week. I tend to agree that we are all given different gifts and talents, and thus our skill-sets lead us to strive toward different prizes. Not everyone beats their body to be a preacher, but we all train ourselves to pursue the goal which God has given us. However, in the same sense, I think that all of those prizes/goals will be and should be similar to that of Paul’s goal of winning people to Christ, and that obviously does not always happen the same way. 

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