24 Do you not know that in a race the runners all compete, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win it. 25 Athletes exercise self-control in all things; they do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable one. 26 So I do not run aimlessly, nor do I box as though beating the air; 27 but I punish my body and enslave it, so that after proclaiming to others I myself should not be disqualified. NRSV
A coaches’ dream: To have a bible verse to challenge his or her team to victory. That carries more weight than the word of the ‘Bear.’
Run for the prize that is eternal, the one that cannot be taken away.
There will be no Hall of Fame for Pete Rose, betting on the game as baseball coach, he did a great job as a players , but he knowingly broke the rules.
Hank Arron quote: ““You guys have got a tough job. I don’t envy you,” Aaron said. “But if a player is elected who’s known to have used steroids, then I think there ought to be an asterisk or something mentioned on the plaque that he used steroids. “To be safe, that’s the only way I see you can do it. I played the game long enough to know it is impossible for players, I don’t care who it is, to hit 70-plus home runs. It just does not happen.”
Olympic Gold Taken Away:
- 10. Ben Johnson – Canada Steroids
- 9. Olga Medvedtseva – Russia Stimulant
- 8. Andreea Raducan – Romania pseudoephedrine
- 7. Hans-Gunnar Liljenwall – Sweden alcohol
- 6. Rashid Ramzi – Bahrain blood-boosting drug.
- 5. Marion Jones – United States steroids
- 4. Ara Abrahamian – Sweden claimed the judges were being corrupt and unjust.
- 3. Lyudmyla Blonska – Ukraine steroids
- 2. Alain Baxter – United Kingdom methamphetamine
- 1. Jim Thorpe – United States 1912 Summer Olympics in Stockholm played professional baseball, making his wins disqualifiable. Thorpe did in fact play professional ball for the Eastern Carolina League in 1909-1910 and made very little money, probably about $47 a game in today’s dollar terms.
Disqualification: No longer allowed to participate because of breaking the rules.
Jesus died for us who have sinned! Hear the Good News.
Paul’s teaching for the church, then and now, is don’t fool yourself just because you have been given grace.
So What for us: Can you take away someone’s church membership? Yes under circumstances that destroy the community.
Paul’s encouragement is far greater than baseball, Olympics or even church.. don’t be disqualified from being a disciple.
- Most often it is not breaking the rules that make the news
- Most often it IS when even I/Me comes before God, the old biblical word is blasphemy, known as the unforgivable sin, because we don’t see it as sin in the first place. It is the things we do or say that reflect, “It doesn’t apply to me,” or “it only affects me,” or “I won’t get caught.”
Paul’s encouragement for us as Christian Disciples:
This life of faith we live is:
- Like that of an athlete: continuous, persistent training is required. (pray, study, piety, worship)
- Knowing the only thing we can control in life is our own self, and are to do so daily. (I can encourage you, but it’s your work)
- Proclaiming to those around us a message in word or deed that we can stand behind. (Living with a constant call to know that other know Christ.)
This life of faith can never be taken away, unless we give it away..
Then all the work and pain and struggle is like a boxer hitting the air or a marathon runner going in circles.
ACTION: Ask your neighbor: Is there anything that threatens to disqualify your witness? There is where we start. And now is when we can train. Now Go to Practice..