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. 1 Corinthians 9:24
Today’s Scripture is one of those passages that sticks out in Paul’s letter to the church in Corinth. It is quite notable and as such, I put it to memory many years ago. Perhaps it caught my attention because I was once a runner and this passage alludes to running a race. Of course, Paul is not suggesting we run a marathon so we can win a medal. No, he is talking about a spiritual race that has difficult stretches. Stretches that try our patience, zap our strength, and beg for us to stop running. However, Paul encourages us to continue on in our spiritual race so we can win the prize that only Christ can give us: a crown of salvation and a ribbon that declares, “Well done my good and faithful servant.”
But I also like this passage because it reminds me that I must maintain my earthly body. In order to do this, I must exercise and stay off the couch so to speak. Many of us exercise to stay healthy, fit, and mentally alert because Alzheimer’s experts claim exercise improves brain function and stimulates endorphins which make us feel better. This is all well and good but it isn’t enough according to Paul. We need to exercise so we are healthy, fit, and more mentally alert in order to serve the Lord.
I remember after completing the harsh physical training of Officer Candidate School, Basic School, and Flight School in the Marine Corps, we were all advised to maintain a rigorous exercise program not just to stay in shape but because it would enable us to serve the Corps more effectively. In essence, I was exercising to be of better Marine who was more capable to serve to the needs of the Marine Corps.
As I struggle with Alzheimer’s disease, I have to remember that I am still a servant of the living Lord. Therefore, I must exercise to stay in shape which will enable me to serve Him better. As such, I have found a fitness program I can maintain and work at it as if working for the Lord and not just to offset Alzheimer’s disease! Because I exercise, I know I am a better servant.
Remember, we are all in a spiritual race. Let us run that race with perseverance so we can get the prize when it is over. Whatever you do, don’t let Alzheimer’s disease stop your spiritual marathon just because this stretch of the race is more difficult. Exercise to enhance your mental abilities and press on with your race because Christ is counting on you!