A Team of Athletes
15 November 2020

A Team of Athletes

Passage: 1 Corinthians 9:24-27, Philippians 3:12-4:1

Many of you will remember or may have
heard of a farmer named Cliff Young, who, in 1983, showed up at the start of an ultramarathon race from
Sydney to Melbourne. Cliff was 61 years old and wore overalls and work boots. To everyone’s shock, Cliff
wasn’t a spectator. He picked up his race number and joined the other runners.
The press told him, “You’re crazy, there’s no way you can finish this race.” To which he replied, “Yes I can. See, I grew up on a farm where we couldn’t afford horses or tractors, and the whole time I was growing up, whenever the storms would roll in, I’d have to go out and round up the sheep. We had 2,000 sheep on 2,000 acres. Sometimes I would have to run those sheep for two or three days It took a long time, but I’d always catch them. I believe I can run this race.”
When the race started, Cliff was quickly left behind, but, as the race went on, while others rested, Cliff kept his focus, persevered and kept shuffling along. He gradually caught, passed them, eventually won and a legend was created. Athletes come in all shapes and sizes, but winning athletes have a number of things in common. They do the hard yards in preparation for the race. They focus on the goal, press on to the end and persevere even when their body wants to give up.

Paul likens the Christian life to an athlete in a running race. There is a prize to be won. It requires hard preparation, focus, and perseverance to the end. The athlete does it for a trophy that will rust and fade, but we do it to receive the goal of faith which is Jesus Christ.

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