Looking at the group the coach had chosen they could not work out why they had been set apart as such a good team.
Reference: v.8 He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. (NIV Bible)
Explore: A coach had set his team a training exercise of running a 2 kilometre track. He had explained the course clearly and told them to run as hard as they could, the whole way, until they got to the finish line. The team obediently set out, working their way around the whole track, going as hard as they could until they got to the finish line. As each member crossed the line the coach separated them into two groups. While the groups seemed random they were not evenly matched in strength, skill or numbers. Once everyone had crossed the finish line and all had been placed in one of the two groups the coach pointed to the group sitting closest to him and said, “This group will be starting our game for us on the weekend.” The whole team were quite flummoxed. Looking at the group the coach had chosen they could not work out why they had been set apart as such a good team. They were not the ones who had crossed the finish line first and they certainly were not the ones who had the most energy left once the course was completed. So what was it? The coach answered their questioning looks. “These players that I have set apart are not the fittest, they are not the most skilled or even the fastest,” the coach said. “The one thing that set them apart from the rest of the team, however, is that they all ran all the way to the end. Many of you did well in running around the track, but once you saw the finish line you started to slow down. Not this group. They all saw the finish line and kept up their speed, if not picking up their pace, to run all the way through the finish line. That is what sets them apart. They all finished well. That is the kind of player I want on my team.”
Application: Finishing well can be a challenge sometimes. Once we see the finish line, no matter what kind of ‘race’ we are in, we think we can relax a little and cruise across the line. That’s not the type of race Paul encouraged the Christians in Corinth to run. He encourages them to rely on Jesus ‘who will keep you strong to the end’. There are lots of different ‘races’ that we run throughout our lives. You might be at the start of a race, half way through or maybe even getting a view of the finish line. Wherever you are at, we are encouraged to stay strong right to the end. Whatever we are doing, no matter whether we’re at the start, middle or the end, we must be strong and steadfast and rely on Christ for our strength.
Prayer: Lord, there are times when I feel exhausted and I’m not sure how I’m going to carry on. May I lean more heavily on You, knowing that You are my strength. Amen.
What kind of ‘race’ do you feel you are running at the moment? How strong are you running?
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This article was written by Linda Bailey
Linda started theological studies in 1999 in Australia. After working for ten years in various church ministries, she now works as the breakfast producer at 89.9 LightFM - the Christian radio station in Melbourne, Australia. She writes blogs every day about passages she is currently reading in the Bible. Follow her on Google Plus +Linda Bailey or Facebook by clicking the like button on the right of this page.