The Prize!

The Prize!

Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. Only let us live up to what we have already attained. Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do. For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.

For those who understand the nature of competition, the goal is to obtain a prize.  However, in Christ, we are not competing for a prize as mere mortals understand it. We are running a race to obtain the end promise-eternity in Heaven with Jesus. If we are competing for any other prize that will rust, fade, or tarnish, we may miss the opportunity for the true prize.

Professional athletes compete to win world recognition and rings and trophies for the team. In order to do that–they prepare by participating in grueling workouts, team practices and disciplining themselves to stay focused on the goal. And when they win national competitions, many on the winning team tell reporters–the next stop in their journey is Disneyland.

Musicians in high schools compete for medals and trophies. In order to win, they prepare by studying the music, practicing their instrument and disciplining themselves to focus on the end goal.

Writers compete for prizes in various genres and sometimes just for the sake of energizing creativity and stamina in staying focused in completing a project under deadline. In particular–the National November Writing Month is not about competing with others necessarily, and there is usually a great deal of support from other participants to encourage one to keep going to write that 50 thousand words in 30 days. I’ve entered the competition for three years and always finished under 15 days. The win–though rewarding–did not garner me anything other than bragging rights and a certificate. And so this year, I’m not writing because I have already won–the knowledge that I could do it.

Unfortunately, in the same competition–some people start out with projects they have started years before and in essence–they’re cheating themselves because their participation and possible completion has been rigged with the early start. So even if they complete the goal–it’s not really a win.

That’s how I view our recent election–a rigged election for a win is not really a victory–and the evidence of such is so apparent that even a blind person could see it. But until we change how we do business, we are stuck with the possibility of more rigging–through deliberate lying and undermining–trying to win by any means. But winning an election is not the prize–it is a responsibility and a commitment to govern all people–with equity and justice for all. If this role is not taken seriously, then democracy begins to unravel and we become vulnerable to all the predators who seek to destroy. For their goal–is to control.

Though there are some who say we simply have to accept the status quo, I believe that change begins with action and until there is action, there is no change. So, I’m going to use the same discipline exercised in competing for a prize, to energize others to see change that benefits all–starting now, so that we have a leader who knows and understands the need for preparation in order to govern and lead.