Today’s Reading: 1 Corinthians 9:24-10:5
Daily Lectionary: Job 9:1-35; John 4:46-54
Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. (1 Corinthians 9:25)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Almost every sport requires you to run. Run, run, and run some more. Running is painful at times, and it’s hard, but it can also be very good for you. Do not be fooled by this passage from Paul. This not a passage that deals with your exercising your faith in order to attain some sort of eternal prize. That would make this all about you and have nothing to do with Jesus.
The Corinthian church felt they were the expert runners in the Christian faith. They were simply following their Old Testament ancestors, the Israelites, who felt the same way. God was on their side, they could do whatever they wanted, and in the end God would give them their victor’s crown. But that would have nothing to do with Jesus, either. We, too, think the same way. At times we feel that since we are Christians, we can do whatever we want and God will have to forgive us. Be warned: “What then will we say? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Never may it be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?” (Romans 6:1-2)
Instead, repent and know that Jesus has run the race for you. He ran from heaven above to earth for you. He ran to the Cross and died your death. He walked out of that empty tomb so that you may receive the crown of everlasting life. Yours is the victory. Indeed, Paul tells us to run, but don’t run for yourself, run to where Christ is found. Run to the font, where you were crucified and risen with Christ. Run to the Absolution your pastor speaks as the Word of eternal life. Run to the Supper where Jesus gives you Himself so that you are forgiven and strengthened in the one true faith that promises you the imperishable wreath of Christ’s salvation for you. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
-Rev. Kent Schaaf
We give thanks to You, almighty God, that You have refreshed us through this salutary gift, and we implore You that of Your mercy You would strengthen us through the same in faith toward You and in fervent love toward one another; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. (Post Communion Collect, LSB)