By John Grant
â€œDo 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. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.â€?Â 1 Corinthians 9:24-27
When Romania’s Tomescu-Dita crossed the finish line in the Beijing Olympics, she not only won the gold medal in the Womenâ€™s Marathon, but, at 38, she became the oldest Olympian ever to do it, leaving 83 competitors in the dust.
Tomescu-Dita led unchallenged for more than an hour, running alone for more than half of the race â€” a remarkable achievement given the quality of the Beijing field. I watched her running along the grueling course that snaked through the streets of Beijing from Tiananmen Square to the Bird’s Nest stadium.
I watched her become energized when the stadium came into sight and then as she circled outside before entering the stadium, I was impressed with something the announcer said, declaring that entering the stadium of victory is â€œsomething that every marathoner looks forward to.â€?
Tomescu-Dita looked strong as she entered the National Stadium to a rousing ovation from the crowd of 60,000. The cheers reached a crescendo as she emerged from the tunnel entrance.
I thought of a spiritual and Biblical parallel. Paul speaks 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 of the ancient games where people run to win a wreath that will not last, but that the Christian runs to win a crown that will last forever, life above with Jesus. Just as the marathoner looks to the stadium and finish line of victory, we as Christians look to the goal of victory through eternal unity with God in His heavenly kingdom and the heavenly crowd will cheer.
Life is a race and the finish line is in the arena of victory is heaven. Luke expresses it in Acts 20:24 â€œHowever, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me â€” the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.â€?Â Â
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Paul expresses it in Philippians 3:13-14, â€œForgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.â€? Now thatâ€™s what I really call running for the gold.Â Â (a thought on life from John Grant )
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John Grant is a former Florida State Senator and is a practicing attorney. He is an active writer and frequent speaker.Â He can be reached by e-mail at John.Grant@johngrant.net