I have never been to an OCR event where I didn’t hear at least one struggling participant ask himself, “What am I doing out here?” It’s usually followed up by his buddy pouring salt in the wound by reminding him, “Yeah, and we paid to do this!” At the end of the day, I’m sure these guys are glad they came even it’s only for a onetime experience. Still, knowing why we’re here is crucial to our success on the course and in life.
We are all running for a prize. For some, it may just be the t-shirt, headband, or medal. Most of us, however, are running for a prize you cannot order from a catalog. Maybe it’s that sense of accomplishment we never felt when we were younger; or finally experiencing the feeling of perseverance after years of giving up. Perhaps, the prize is my son’s smile as he thinks, “Wow, my dad can do anything!” Once we figure out what our prize is and determine that it is worth the sacrifice necessary to acquire it, we fix our eyes on the prize and let it guide us to the finish line.
“I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” -Philippians 3:14
Christ followers recognize that eternity with God is the greatest prize. Its value is certainly worth whatever temporary disciplines we must endure during our short time here on Earth. However, unlike prizes at an obstacle race, we will never be fast enough, strong enough, accurate enough, or even remotely good enough to earn God’s greatest gift. We will fall and fail and prove ourselves unworthy time and time again. So, are we wasting our time trying to fulfill God’s call to be righteous? Not at all.
In OCR terms, our failures have racked-up a lifetime’s worth of burpees. However, Jesus said, “I got this,” and did them for us. He paid our debt and, in return, asked only that we follow Him to the finish line. The ones truly committed to following Him do so because they know He’s not only our guide to the finish line. He is the prize!
This isn’t a call to ease up because you already know how it’s going to end. More so, it is encouragement to stay focused, run hard, and long for a familiar voice at the finish line saying…
“Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.” -Matthew 25:23
May we never stop anticipating that day, and may we forever keep our eyes on the prize!