“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.” — 1 Corinthians 9:25
As a former MLB pitcher, I miss many things from my playing days. I miss the relationships in the locker room, the chartered flights, the talks in the bullpen and, yes, the paychecks. The one thing I miss the most, though, is competing on the field against the best hitters in the game. I would venture to say most retired players would agree that competing and the relationships formed are what they miss most.
To compete well in any athletic contest requires the proper motivation, purpose and discipline. Elite athletes train their spirits, minds and bodies utilizing these principles. Physical abilities will help an athlete only so far. To compete at the highest level consistently requires spiritual and mental preparation.
Paul challenges us in 1 Corinthians 9:23-27 to consider this spiritual and mental preparation. He uses athletic terms to describe it. Our motivation is to do all things for the sake of the Gospel. We have purpose in the way we train to accomplish this task. We are encouraged to exercise self-control and discipline in our training so that we can compete to win and not be disqualified. The world prepares to win trophies that will rust and fade, but we are motivated by what will last through eternity.
Our motivation, purpose and discipline matter for our preparation to compete and in the competition itself. Who are you competing for and how will you accomplish the task for the sake of the Gospel?
— Mickey Weston, Chicago White Sox chaplain
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