Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified. (1 Corinthians 9:24-27 ESV)
F.B. Meyer (1847 – 1929) was a pastor and evangelist who worked in the inner city in both England and the United States. He also wrote a commentary that stands the test of time. Below is from that commentary. (Antiquated words defined in italics)
Paul’s one aim was to gain men. He uses the words repeatedly. To gain one more for his Lord, he would forego comfort, emolument (salary, payment), and well-earned repose (rest). He would allow no competitor for an earthly prize to supersede himself in his sacrifices for this crown of rejoicing. He points to the denials, the hard training, and the severe discipline to which men who took part in the games subjected themselves. No one thought it strange that they should sacrifice so much for the chance of winning; why, then, should he be counted eccentric (odd), who sought the certain reward of gaining new lovers of his Master’s cross?
He tells us that he lived in constant dread of becoming a castaway. He had no fear of being rejected from God’s love; but he feared lest God, who had used him so wonderfully, should cease to do so, and should cast him aside in favor of someone more unselfish, more pliant, more free from that which would excite prejudice. If Paul was so eager to surrender his rights and bruise his body that he might attain the prize of soul-winning, the question arises whether for our failure in these respects God may not be obliged to cast us on the rubbish-heap!
Through The Bible Day by Day: a devotional commentary by F. B. Meyer, 1914
As to that final sentence, I believe that believers today should be more conscious of the fact that if we are not usable by God, then God will find someone who is usable! The apostle Paul was making that very point. Run the race (live your life) in such a way that you are running to win the prize. Being a Christian is not a half-hearted, part-time thing. Seriously. If you are truly born again then you know what Jesus has saved you from and, being filled with the Holy Spirit, allow God to use you to the fullest extent of your abilities. Be a sacrifice.
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