Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. (1 Cor. 9:24)
Many of us are approaching the last leg of a race. For me personally this is particularly true. I’m approaching the end of my time with the students at the LCMS-U at the University of Arizona. I’m approaching the end of my time as Vicar at Catalina Lutheran Church. And I’m also about to start my last year in Seminary.
Most of you are likely approaching the last days of classes and are gearing up for that last stretch of the race which is Finals. It can be hard to keep enduring in your educational studies when you know that summer and the numerous opportunities and fun times in it are so close. Yet as close as summer is, don’t forget that you still have to finish the race that you are in now. As Paul says:
Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable [one]. (1 Cor. 9:25)
Now is the time to buckle down and exercise the self-control that we all want to have. You’re almost there. You almost have that wreath.
Running the race that is the Christian life is a bit different than running the race that is college though. For starters, most of you are just at the beginning of the race of life. Hopefully you are all excited to be doing the works that God has prepared for you in advance. As you continue running the Christian life though, don’t forget who it’s all about. It’s easy in the hustle and bustle of the college race to forget or simply not have the time to get to church or do your daily devotions.
In these busy times, when you feel like you really don’t have just five minutes to sit down and read the Bible, you are free to remember that even in the midst of running a marathon, the runners make sure to grab some water from their supporters while they are running. You also are free to take the time to take care of yourselves, whether that be physically, mentally, or spiritually.
You are also free to remember that you aren’t the only one running this race. There are literally millions of other Christians who are running this race with you. You are all running for the same finish line. The good news is, that you are not racing against your fellow Christians. You are truly running with them.
Of course, it is not only other Christians who are running with you. Jesus Himself, along with the Father and the Spirit, is right there beside you. Even in the busy times when you literally can’t remember what day it is, God is there, right beside you. Jesus ran the race that is a Faithful life. He knows how it goes, and He is there to help you keep on chugging along. He died for you in order to make sure that you were assured a place with Him in Heaven. With Him by your side guiding you (and dragging you along when necessary) you will end up in that place that He has prepared for you.