I recently read in the news how a South African female runner, Caster Semenya, was in the process of being stripped of her World Championship gold medals. There is some doubt as to whether or not she is really female. Marion Jones, an American runner in the 2000 Sydney Olympics was stripped of all five of her Olympic medals due to use of illegal performance enhancing drugs. And more recently Rashid Ramzi of Morocco was stripped of the gold medal he won in the 2008 Beijing Olympics for the same charge as Jones. There is a currently a dark cloud over Semenya while Jones and Ramzi are disqualified and disgraced.
He has stripped me of my honor and removed the crown from my head. – Job 19:9
Job was stripped of his honor, his crown removed. He was disgraced. However, unlike the athletes above, he did nothing to merit his disqualification.
All athletes practice strict self-control. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run straight to the goal with purpose in every step. I am not like a boxer who misses his punches. I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified. – 1 Corinthians 9:25-27
It would seem at we too are in a race, one that must be run according to specific rules.
Follow the Lord’s rules for doing his work, just as an athlete either follows the rules or is disqualified and wins no prize. – 2 Timothy 2:5
When we do run the race described by Paul, according to the rules, we win a prize.
God blesses the people who patiently endure testing. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. – James 1:12
The crown of life, and more importantly the honor of being in God’s presence – his hall of fame – are the reward for a race well run.
Father, thank you for setting the course before me. May I run with endurance, lawfully. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
I’m qualifying. Jan