“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. I run in such away, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; I discipline my body and make my slave…so that, I myself will not be disqualified” (I Corinthians 9:24-27).
One of the phenomenon’s of watching sports on television these days is that the playing fields are full, and the bleachers are empty. As I have pondered this development, I have made comparisons to the Body of Christ, praying, and hoping that we could realize the same phenomenon, turning watchers into participants.
There are many passages in the scriptures that compare the Christian walk with athletic events. The one above talks of boxing, along with track and field. Hebrews 12:1 calls us to run with endurance the race that is set before us.
Everyone who has ever competed in athletic events, knows that it is far more fulfilling to be on the sidelines than in the bleachers and that it is far more exciting to be on the field than on the bench. The fact of the matter is, God has designed you to be on the playing field, not on the bench, not watching from the bleachers.
Listen to the following words, written to Timothy by the Apostle Paul, “Now, in a large house there are not only gold and silver vessels, but also vessels of wood and of earthenware, some to honor and some to dishonor. Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work” (II Timothy 2:21).
Each one of us, as Children of God in Christ, are a vessel in God’s household. The question is, are we a vessel of honor or of dishonor? It is God’s desire that we all be vessels of honor who have, by the blood, the Word, and the Spirit, purged that which God calls dishonorable from our lives. And then, the apostle identifies us as “vessels of honor, useful to the Master.”
Have you ever taken time to think about what it means to be useful to God? That usefulness, my friend, will place you on the playing field, not the bench or in the bleachers. Where are you seated today in your relationship with Christ and His Church? In the bleachers, on the bench, or on the field. O let us join with Paul and with the writer of Hebrews, by getting out there on the track and running with endurance the race that is set before us, running that we may win.