2 Timothy 4:6-8 6 I’m already being poured out like a sacrifice to God, and the time of my death is near. 7 I have fought the good fight, finished the race, and kept the faith. 8 At last the champion’s wreath that is awarded for righteousness is waiting for me. The Lord, who is the righteous judge, is going to give it to me on that day. He’s giving it not only to me but also to all those who have set their heart on waiting for his appearance.
1 Corinthians 9:24-27 24 Don’t you know that all the runners in the stadium run, but only one gets the prize? So run to win. 25 Everyone who competes practices self-discipline in everything. The runners do this to get a crown of leaves that shrivel up and die, but we do it to receive a crown that never dies. 26 So now this is how I run—not without a clear goal in sight. I fight like a boxer in the ring, not like someone who is shadowboxing. 27 Rather, I’m landing punches on my own body and subduing it like a slave. I do this to be sure that I myself won’t be disqualified after preaching to others.
Much like today's world Paul is using an example that many people would understand in that a champion lives a big, out in the public eye purposeful life. The apostle Paul used images from the Greek Olympic races and boxing to describe his disciplined approach to being a life champion. Paul related what he’d seen of human sports champions’ discipline to his disciplined spiritual life. He had a vision of a "crown that never dies" (better than any human trophy) waiting for him after this life.
Paul knew the Romans would soon end his earthly life but was confident that a champion’s wreath awaited him in eternity. The picture we get is of a man facing serious trouble and likely death, beset with problems and anxieties, but who nevertheless remains determined to bring every single aspect of his life into the gospel itself, the royal proclamation of Jesus as Lord. He lives in the present world, Caesar’s world, as already a cheerful citizen of the world to come,
Today, in what we can only describe as crazy and uncertain we too have the choice to live as a citizen of the earthly kingdom.
Almighty God, lead me through and beyond this life until I can claim the champion's wreath in Your eternal kingdom. In the meantime, help me to walk in this life sharing the good news and being a person of hope to the many who need this. Lord, forgive me of my sins and help me to forgive others. Father, I pray this in Your Son's name. Amen
Meet the pastor
Rev. Pastor Carl Schreiber has been serving East Orrington Congregational Church (EOCC) since March 12, 2006