You may be aware that a 2,168 year record was broken last week. In 152 BC Leonidas of Rhodes, a famous olympic runner, won his twelfth individual event during his career. He had competed in four olympics and won consecutively three different foot races, including a shield bearing race. He retired at the age of 36 after his final Olympics in 152 BC, leaving a record that seemingly could not be broken. This changed, however, when the American swimmer Michael Phelps came out of retirement to compete in his fifth Olympic game, winning four more individual events and bringing his career total to thirteen individual gold medals.
Paul was probably speaking about the Olympic games and he may have even had Leonidas in mind when he wrote to the Corinthians, "Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible" (1 Corinthians 9:24, 15). Leonidas of Rhodes and Michael Phelps made the pages of history because of their hard work and dedication. Paul brings out that these athletes must be temperate in all things, that they have to take care of themselves. Part of stewardship is learning to take care of our bodies in such a way that it brings honor and glory to God. We aren't running the race to win a corruptible crown, we are running to win something that will last forever. Isn't that worth just as much effort as these athletes put in to winning a gold medal?
Striving for the incorruptible crown,