Going for the Gold
1 Corinthians 9:24
1 Corinthians 9:24I'm about as athletic as a shoebox, but I enjoy watching competitive sports. ESPN is my favorite channel, followed closely by ESPN2, ESPN NEWS, ESPN Classic, and the NFL Network.
And this year I've been intrigued by a weird sport in the Winter Olympics called curling. It's funny. I can't quit figure out what the rules are or what these people are actually doing, but it seems fun and competitive and requires a set of skills I didn't realize existed.
I appreciate the every single athlete in Vancouver got there after a lifetime of hard work. While their friends were at the mall or playing Xbox, they were shuffling off to an ice rink or a bobsled hill. They endured long grueling days of training, coaches screaming in their faces, moms and dads standing faithfully on the sidelines. To get where they got, it cost time, effort, and money.
But standing on the podium, hearing your country's anthem announced, and having someone place that medal around your neck—makes all the effort worthwhile.
Well, I know I'll never be on an Olympic podium, and chances are you won't either. But all of us who know the Lord are pressed to win gold. The Bible talks frequently about rewards God will hand out in Heaven, recognition for our achievements on the earth, things we do for His glory and for His Kingdom.
Now you say yourself—I don't serve God for rewards. Ok, that sounds really spiritual. Except its not. Because God wired us to be rewarded. That's in our DNA.
Granted, we'll take those crowns in Heaven and throw them at Jesus feet. But even Paul, the greatest missionary and church planter in history, who wrote much of the New Testament, even this guy said that he was running the race to receive an award.
What's unique about Heavenly gold is that it is not in competition with others. We won't get there and flaunt our medals at someone else. Ephesians 2 tells us there will be no boasters in Heaven. (As a lifelong Baptist, I wonder how the Baptists will get in!).
But our rewards are incentive to live for God while on this earth. To make an impact. To be the difference the world needs.
What are the ingredients of a gold-medal life? Discipline, hard work, devotion. Spiritual maturity in Christ doesn't come by osmosis. Knowing God doesn't happen by sitting on the couch and hoping it does. No, we have to pursue godliness and character. We have to work hard and labor for the Kingdom.
Let me ask you. Are you working for gold?
Daniel Darling is an author, pastor, and public speaker. His latest book is Crash Course, Forming a Faith Foundation for Life. Visit him on Facebook by clicking here, follow on him on Twitter at twitter.com/dandarling, or check out his website: danieldarling.com.