Summer 2024

Daily Devotional: Thursday, July 11 - Going For Eternal Gold

“All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize.” — 1 Corinthians 9:25 (NLT)

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The XXXIII Olympiad will commence on July 26 in Paris, France, as athletes from all over the world will arrive in hopes of capturing an Olympic gold medal. The action will take place over 17 days in disciplines such as track and field, swimming, gymnastics, skateboarding, volleyball, basketball, equestrian, boxing — 32 sports in all, with 329 medal events. That’s a lot of gold.

Individual athletes train for years for the opportunity to go for the gold. Members of team sports keep themselves in shape hoping to get that invitation to try out and be part of the Olympic dream. A lot of, if not all, personal pleasures and pursuits are put on the sidelines during the training process. There are two goals: make the cut and earn a medal.

The apostle Paul used athletic imagery quite often in his writings. He referred to his preaching as running in a race as he addressed the churches in Galatia (Galatians 2:2). Paul told the church at Philippi that he pressed on to finish the race to receive the prize the Lord had for him (Philippians 3:14). He told Timothy to fight the good fight for true faith, and to always be careful to compete by the rules (1 Timothy 6:12; 2 Timothy 2:5). Paul also put in perspective the value of the goal he was trying to reach — he was going for eternal gold.

Paul commended the athletes of his day by noting their extensive, disciplined training. Their goal was to win a wreath of greenery at the Isthmian Games in Corinth. Obviously, that prize would not stand the test of time, but they strived for it nonetheless.

Paul knew how much better the eternal prize would be. He was not dismissing the value of going for the gold in this life, but to have our priorities in order. Even a gold medal may lose its value one day — and we certainly will not outlast that product of gold in our lifetime — so let us also go, with Paul, for eternal gold.

— Loring Schultz

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