Do you have a favorite Bible verse about Running? 1 Corinthians 9:24 is one of my favorite verses I take with me out on my morning runs and also, one of the most well-known verses in the Bible about running.
“Do you not know that in a race all runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.” 1 Corinthians 9:24
However, I don’t run races to win. Actually, I bet 90% of runners don’t. Back when I was running as a tennager, and when I first read this verse, I was puzzled by it’s meaning. Run in such a way to get the prize? “Hmmmm…what does this mean to you?”.
I wondered what Paul meant by this verse for years…..is it really about winning? Of course not….Paul was simply using competitive runners as an example of “being all in” for the gospel, giving your absolute best to God. Like so many other Bible Verses, some are hard to interpret or find their true meaning. Eventually I came to understand this one and accept it’s all about doing your best. Yes it is true, most athletes go into strict training, just as Paul goes on to say in verse 25, but unlike olympic athletes who are wanting that crown/medal, I compete on a far different level. I show up and try my best!
Everyone wants to do their best.
Do you try and do your best every day? Deep down I bet we all want this, even though some days it’s harder. We go a hundred miles an hour through life every day and every minute we’re awake. Even when our actions don’t meet up to our intentions, in the end, we like knowing we’ve put our best effort into our race, our careers, our relationships, our housework, and even our hobbies. Heck, we just really like knowing we have done our best in any situation.
Do you ever think of that Prize waiting for you at the finish line….. For most of us, including me, the “prize” we run for is a personal best. Yes, there have been times when the “prize” is simply enjoying the experience of the race, such as running the GREAT WALL MARATHON OF CHINA. I didn’t really care what my finish time was as long as I finished. It was not about a personal best. In fact, I have had a few destination runs where a personal best wasn’t my main goal.
“What’s most important?” …. the true meaning of this passage….we all want the crown that lasts forever. Is God forever in your heart?
Don’t get me wrong…most races I would love a personal best. “You too?”. To be perfectly honest, currently I am concentrating on personal bests in my age group since “personal records” are not as easy to conquer in my mid fifties. The best news of all, even after 23 marathons, I am still running and placing very near the top in my age group. That’s a big enough prize for me even if it’s not a PR?.
I din’t win Grandma’s Marathon that year, or any other year, but I did do well enough to qualify for Boston. I was happy, and most days I am happy with my run. I try and run to win every day…..not to win the race, but I try and win at doing my best on my training runs, my attitude, my work, and most importantly, praising God. So, run to win today! That is what Paul was getting at in the original verse. “Do you have the attitude and work ethic of an elite athlete?” You control your run, your life, your diet, your health, your attitude, etc. I don’t know about you, but I really want to show up every day, I want to giv’er every day and do my best, and I really want to keep my eye on the PRIZE!