Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize?  Run in such a way as to get the prize.  1 Corinthians 1:24

For the past couple of years, I have run alongside thirty thousand other “athletes” in a local race to help raise thousands of dollars for a number of charities.  While most of us realize we don’t have a chance to win the race, many of us find other ways to run in such a way as to get the prize. 

Some run to be the best in their age-group, others for their gender, several for a team score, many for a “personal best” time, while a number consider completing the eight-plus mile course an achievement in and of itself.  Each is a pursuit of excellence.

In doing so, we are all part of something bigger than ourselves, and in the process we are also encouraging others to give more, work harder, run faster and persevere longer.

Let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love and good deeds.  Hebrews 10:24

Scott Hamilton, American figure skater and Olympic gold medalist, was asked, “How did you end up becoming an Olympic skater?”  His response was, “I was always underachieving until my mother passed away.  It was in my grief that I decided to be the skater, and person, that she always thought I could be.  If I felt like backing off a training day, I would think of my mother and it prodded me to rise above my weakness that day.  To become an Olympian, you have to do whatever it takes to get better each day and work harder than your competitors.”

What gifts and passion has God blessed you with?  

Discover what pushes you to get out of bed each morning, what you can’t wait to take on and what you know you were created for.

Determine who or what will motivate you when you feel like quitting and use it in those difficult times when you feel like you can’t go on.

The pursuit of excellence is not easy. Olympians dedicate and sacrifice their whole life to being the best in the world by not accepting ‘no’ for an answer, pushing beyond the pain, sacrificing many things we know as commonplace, and striving to always get better.

Is this is what you do each and every day with your life?

You may never receive a gold medal nor be recognized on the street for your accomplishments, but you can run in such a way as to get the prize. 

Cliff Young is a contributing writer to Sandlot Stories (arose books), as well as the monthly column, "he said-she said," in's Singles Channel.  An architect and former youth worker, he now works with Christian musicians and consults for a number of Christian ministries. Got feedback?  Send your comments and questions to

Publication date: July 31, 2012