Leadership, Personal Development

Running the Race to Obtain the Prize

crossing-the-finish-line-2

Have you ever run a race?  Probably as a child you have.  Some of you may have participated in track and field running races.  Others of us have competed in one event or another and some of us have won the competition!  I’m not much of an athlete and haven’t come in first many times, but when I have it’s a real thrill!  All of the work, practice, and preparation has paid off and we have been rewarded!

I was having a Facebook Chat with my son, Matthew, this morning about this question:  “Will be be judged for what we are called to do in that God has only one plan for us?”  My reply to him is this:

Since I have become a Christian more than 40 year ago I have lived with eternity in mind.  I live to stand before the throne of Jesus Christ and to hear the words, “Well done my good and faithful servant…enter into the inheritance that has been prepared for you.”

The Bible verses below have impacted my life for more than 40 years:

Matthew 5:14-30

14 “For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants[a]and entrusted to them his property. 15 To one he gave five talents,[b] to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. 16 He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. 17 So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. 18 But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money.19 Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. 20 And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here, I have made five talents more.’ 21 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant.[c] You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’22 And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here, I have made two talents more.’23 His master said to him, ‘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.’ 24 He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, 25 so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here, you have what is yours.’26 But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? 27 Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. 28 So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. 29 For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 30 And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

God has given us a deposit:  Our Spiritual Gifts, Heart Motivation, Abilities, Personality and Experiences in Life (SHAPE) have created us to be a unique person to fulfill our part in God’s Eternal Plan during our lifetime

Some day in the future all Christians will stand before the Judgement Seat of Christ to be judged for the deeds that we’ve done in this body – Have we done what God intended us to do with the SHAPE He has given us (unbelievers will stand before the Great White Throne of God Almighty – a different judgement from the Judgement Seat of Christ – and be judged as to whether their name is in the Lamb’s Book of Life or not.)  Rewards will be given.  In heaven there are varying degrees of rewards and varying degrees of glory based upon what we have done with what God has given us during this life time.  It’s an individual thing.

I believe the Apostle Paul had the same understanding and lived with the same motivation:

1 Corinthians 9:24-27

24 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. 25 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.26 Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. 27 No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.

“Run in such a way to receive the prize.”  This means that some will receive the prize and some won’t.  Some will receive greater and lessor rewards in heaven.  The question is “What are you doing with what God has given you?”

I believe we can hinder the plan of God and possibly delay it because our of apathy, laziness or being distracted with the things of the world.  These Bible verses are not just for the “Great Heroes of Faith” or missionaries like me…they are for everyone!

Selected verses from Hebrews, Chapter 11:

By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. 10 For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.

13 All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. 14 People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. 15 If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.

24 By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. 25 He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. 26 He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward.

I urge you to consider the life that God has given you. Discover your Spiritual Gifts, Heart Motivation, Abilities, Personalty and Experiences in Life and how God wants to use you as a unique individual to make a difference in your generation.  Your reward is waiting for you.

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