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Saturday, May 4, 2024


How well do you think a musician would do playing a piece they’ve never seen before? When I was in the school band, our band director would challenge us from time to time with the expectation that we be able to play, and play well, music we’ve seen for the first time. This is something called sight-reading and it doesn’t come easy and very often it doesn’t turn out well. 

How well do you think an athlete would do competing in an event they’ve never practiced in? When I was on the high school track team, we would sometimes be at a meet a little short-handed. Being down a teammate or two, the coach was left with the decision to either forfeit the event or possibly put someone in that wasn’t ready. So, sometimes you’d have a sprinter run a long-distance race, it doesn’t come easy and doesn’t often turn out well.

How well do you think you’d do on a math test or science test when you’ve never reviewed the material? There’s been plenty of times I’ve shown up on test day unprepared. In the end, I’ve got no one to blame but myself. I had the time, the tools, and the opportunity to prepare but when it came time to take the test, I wasn’t always ready.

In the same way, how well do we think we can stand up to temptation, vices, evil, and injustice if we’ve only walked with God about an hour per week? How prepared are we for trial and crisis if our faith is only attended to infrequently and by others? Is our time in worship together the only time we spend with our God and Father?

Paul writes to the church in Corinth and he compares the Christian faith to something familiar to the Greek and Roman culture of the day. Athletics was a worthy endeavor and taking care of the body was a high priority for Paul’s audience. He had an easy time picking something out that he knew people would be willing to suffer for, sacrifice their time for, and dedicate their efforts towards. How much greater value is the result of a faithful life? 

Paul tells the church in 1 Corinthians 9, “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 someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. 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.”

Later in the same letter we also find, “So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!” (1 Cor. 10:12).

Therefore, just as much as we know a musician, or an athlete, or a student must be prepared in order that they might meet their goal, how much are we as Christians preparing ourselves to meet our Lord?

I hope our time together here is just a small piece rather than the whole of Christ in your life. This week, we’ll begin a series of lessons looking at the Christian home and relationships, pastimes, and plans that should be but are not always under the rule of God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ. Training is valuable and helps us in times of need. Let us not neglect the opportunities we have every day. 

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