Monday, June 5, 2017

Run To Win

Two weeks after Vince Lombardi led his Green Bay Packers to a 33-14 victory over the Oakland Raiders in Super Bowl II, he retired as head coach of the Packers. He went out on top, winning the first two Super Bowls and three national championships before that.

The leagues championship trophy is named The Lombardi Trophy. Why? Because it epitomizes winning. It's about being the best. Vince Lombardi was all about winning. But not necessarily in the way you might think

Lombardi instilled character in his players. He made them into men. Honorable men.

Do you know that there is a three word phrase inscribed on the Super Bowl II rings? Lombardi had it put there. It is a reference to a Bible verse. Look real close near the bottom of Bart Starr's ring pictured at the right.

"Run To Win"

"Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win." - 1 Corinthians 9:24

Run To Win.

Why would God want us to run a race to win it? Jesus tells us that "the last will be first" in Matthew 20:16. Let's read a little before and after that "run to win" verse to see if things become clearer.

"19 Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. 20 To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. 21 To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. 23 I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.

24 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.
25 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. 26 Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. 27 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."
- 1 Corinthians 9:19-27

What is the prize we are trying to win? In Paul's case the prize is running his race, his life, in such a way to win the prize - to bring others to a saving faith in Jesus Christ.

I have a friend named Mark who led someone to Christ by having a beer with them. Mark doesn't drink but he saw it as a means to an end. Mark's beer drinking bud was so amazed that a "Christian" would drink a beer with him that he listened to Mark and heard the Gospel message. Mark ran in such a way as to win.

Am I running MY race to win? How am I leading others to Christ? Do they even know where the finish line is? Do I? How can I become a better runner? Verse 25 has the answer. Strict Training! Read God's Word, strike up relationships with others so you can earn the right to speak into their lives. We must do whatever needs to be done so we can have the opportunity to share the Gospel with others.

Yes, that can be dangerous. But the alternative of not sharing the Gospel is far worse for the person who does not know Jesus. We are all in a race but most of us aren't even running. Are we running to win?

On your mark, get set, GO!!

Running To Win - Heather Dorniden
Run To Win - CSI Christ Church Youth Fellowship

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