A friend of mine who works with unreached people groups in SE Asia recently posted this, and I thought it was compelling yet personally challenging.
In 1 Corinthians 9:24-25 Paul says, “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. 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.”
Paul’s point here is that if we are serving in God’s kingdom, we are not just doing it for fun, for the experience, or simply to say that we were a part of things. No, we do it for a purpose and that is to win, not just compete. We serve to succeed in the final result, not just to “give it a shot and see how it goes.”
This isn’t the Little Leagues where everyone gets a participation trophy just for showing up and the major concern is that all are safe and everyone has fun. No, service in God’s kingdom is the Big Leagues of all Big Leagues and success is not guaranteed. Serving is not safe and sometimes it’s not even fun. In fact, our opposition would be delighted to see that we are not taking our service seriously and only intend to play, not win. He would be happy to let us all have fun and “feel fulfilled” if it means we forfeit the game.
No, we must gird up our loins and prepare for action. There is no path to victory that does not lead through suffering. We must run in such a way as to get the prize!