Summary: Paul teaches us that we are all in a race..there are no spectators.
The Race - 1 Corinthians 9:24-27
From time to time as I prepare for our Sunday Worship sermon time, God tells me that I need to reveal little secrets about myself.
The problems is that sometimes I am afraid that since we are still getting to know each other it might give some of you an excuse to make a less than glowing review of my character.
Today is one of those days. It is not that what I am going to share is a real secret. If you asked me about it I would tell you, but, I don’t really want to reveal anything that might go against an assumption that you might make about a normal, typical man.
Ok, here you go, I don’t care anything about sports.
I don’t care who wins the Georgia – Georgia Tech football game. I don’t have a clue about professional golf standings. Basketball, Baseball, Hockey are mysteries.
Don’t get me wrong, I am pleased when most people are happy at the outcome of some game or sport. I celebrate when the United States wins medals in the Olympics and am impressed with the drive and abilities of so many people.
But, over all, I am not really interested in being a spectator.
I think it may be because I am not really and never have been talented toward competitive things. As a teen I was clumsy and caused damage to myself and others when competing.
But, to take it a step further, I don’t understand the ability of some people to get excited about racing.
Watching professionals race in loops, over and over again sometimes for hours. The end comes and the finishing line is crossed and one or two people get a prize and everyone heads home in bumper to bumper traffic.
SLIDE – Mediterranean
Our scripture this morning includes the Apostle Paul’s opinion of racing. He is writing to the church in Corinth. A wealthy town with a wide range of religious experiences available. Their wealth came from where they are located.
Slide - Map
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.
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. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.
Slide – Poseidon
Paul’s letter to the Corinthians is said to be written with the background of the Isthmian games which happened every two years and were 1 of 4 major sporting contest in the Greek and now Roman world of Paul’s day. Each event dedicated to the main Pagan God for the city. Any hints as to why Poseidon would be Corinth’s main deity?
The goal of athletes would be to win in each main event over the period of 4 years
This event was held every two years ten miles outside the city of Corinth. From my reading, the event was a big deal. People came from all around the Mediterranean to watch.
It was the sporting event that every other year - drew the empire’s best talent.