Summary: This was a sermon that I preached for some new chaplains. It could be turned into a good sermon for a civilian setting with a different illustration.

Read 1 Corinthians 9:24-27

We’ve been through a lot in our pasts. We’ve all gone to school for a long time. We have some very successful civilian ministries. In the last five weeks – we’ve gone through some good training

Now what? What do we do now?

It would be easy to sit on our laurels. Hey, we’ve learned a lot. We’ve put much of it into practice.

It’s easy to think that we need no further training. We can easily feel that we are already fully equipped to finish the race. However, the Apostle Paul would say we are really at the beginning of the race. We’ve just started to run. We need much more training in order to finish strong.

Too often though we get tempted to not push ourselves..

We are tempted not to push ourselves to learn and grow. We are tempted not to pursue continuing education and more advanced degrees. We are tempted not to sharpen our game. We are tempted to not work on and cordon off those areas of our lives that could disqualify us.

And too often we give in to those temptations. I know a chaplain who was about halfway through his ACSC correspondence work when he dropped it cold. He didn’t see the point at the time. He obviously didn’t make Lieutenant Colonel and now wishes he’d finished. He didn’t finish the race.

Fortunately, for our sake Jesus ran the perfect race. He ran the race perfectly, keeping all of the commandments perfectly in our stead. He ran to the cross, suffering and dying for us. He bolted out of the tomb on the first Easter. He sent His Holy Spirit to empower us to run the race better, stronger, faster.

So, for Jesus’ sake what do we do now? We push ourselves to do better. We find training that can raise our game to a new level. We put ourselves into situations that force us to grow and develop. We push our bodies so that we can do better on our PT tests.

Why do we do this? We certainly want to do well for our own sakes that we have a long and satisfying career.

We also do it so that we might best represent our Lord and His church.

Do we have any other motivation? Why else should we improve our running?

If we jump back in our text, we find out that Paul was willing to give up some of his own rights so that others might become members of Xt’s kingdom.

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