August 15 - First-Place Effort


By David Thomas

Today's Scripture: 1 Corinthians 9:24

Central Thought: Winning a race requires effort, and Christ has destined all believers to be crowned as winners.

    Competition is present in many areas of our lives, but athletic competitions often take the spotlight. This is especially true of Olympics events. Let's compare two types of Olympics competition.

    The first is an Olympic race. The Olympics award medals to the top three finishers in each race. As they near the end of a race, those who still have a chance to win will strain and lean forward at the finish line in order to increase their chances of winning one of those medals. Those who know they will not earn a medal often will ease through the finish line with no lean or strain. With no medal to be won, there is no motivation to continue with all-out effort.

    Second is the Special Olympics race. Perhaps you have seen, either firsthand or by video, the inspiring Special Olympics events. Each competitor gives his or her all-out effort to the very end of the race regardless of where each will place. Why? The Special Olympics teaches that every participant is a winner. Although most will not finish in 'first place,” all give a first-place effort.

    When Paul wrote, 'Run in such a way as to get the prize [emphasis added]” (NIV), he encouraged the Corinthian believers to all give a first-place effort. Christ has declared all of those who accept Him as winners, and we should all run the Christian race like the winners that we are through Him.

Devotional Prayer: Lord, give me the strength to run every day as a winner. May I run the race in a way that will inspire others to follow You.

Today's Bible Reading: Nehemiah 9:22-10:39; 1 Corinthians 9:19-10:13; Psalm 34:1-10; Proverbs 21:13