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Keep Your Eye on the Prize

Hebrews 12:1 “We are surrounded by a great cloud of people whose lives tell us what faith means. So let us run the race that is before us and never give up. We should remove from our lives anything that would get in the way and the sin that so easily holds us back.”

We all know the story of the tortoise and the hare. The hare knew he was faster than the silly slow tortoise and one day decided to challenge the tortoise to a race. We all know how the story goes and have probably used it many times to teach valuable lessons to our kids or students. The race begins and the hare immediately starts running while the tortoise slowly moves down the path. Being yards ahead of the tortoise the hare knows he's a shoe in to win and knew there was no need to hurry anymore. He decides to stop and rest. Even if the tortoise caught up to him, he could just run ahead to the finish line and win. So, the hare rests and soon falls asleep. Meanwhile, the tortoise just keeps his eye on the finish line and keeps moving at his slow pace. Well, while the hare was fast asleep, he didn't notice when the tortoise finally made it to the same point and then kept on going. When the hare finally woke up, he noticed how close to the finish line the tortoise was and hurried to pass him. But it was too late, and the hare lost to the slow tortoise as he moved over the finish line.

Let me share a story of a great athlete who experienced his real-life tortoise and the hare story. In 1987 Eamon Coughlan, an Irish world record holder for the 1,500 meter was competing to qualify at the world's indoor track championships in Indianapolis. Coughlan was a shoe in to make it and entered the race with confidence of finishing in the top to qualify. Coughlan was doing great but as he approached the last leg of the 2 1/2 laps, another runner accidentally tripped him. As spectators gasped, watching Coughlan crash into the ground and runners pass him, they thought it was the end of his turn to qualify. Yet Coughlan had yet to take his eye off the prize and managed to get up, shake off the fall and start off on a run again. With a burst of energy, he quickly caught up to and passed the other runners and with 20 yards left Coughlan found he would land in 3rd place which would still qualify him for the finals.

By the day of the main race, like the hare, Coughlan had become too confident in himself. When he noticed no other runners were near him on the inner side of the track, he began to slow his stride. To his surprise another runner came running up on the outside at full speed and passed him only a yard before the finish line and Coughlan was eliminated from the race. Coughlan’s comeback effort was worthless because he took his eyes off the finish line and assumed the race was in the bag with no more effort needed.

We are essentially running a race in our lives. Our prize is a home with Jesus but until He returns, we must keep our eye on that prize and keep running each day, towards it. The Bible tells us we must always be alert, ready and watchful for Jesus.

In this world, there will be distractions that can and will take our attention away from our goals. There will be small bumps in the road that are easily and quickly overcome. There will be the stumble and fall variety that can threaten our finish line if we don't pick ourselves up and keep going. It's the “I've got it made so I can relax” threat that can hurt us the most.

Like the hare and Coughlan, they became so confident in their abilities that they began to relax, slow down and take their eyes off the prize. It's in those moments satan has you in his sights and can keep you down while others pass you by.

The Bible tells us of a story of ten virgins. All were waiting at the door of a wedding banquet waiting for the bridegroom to come. Each carried a lamp with oil to keep lit while they waited. When they were called to meet the bridegroom only five ladies had enough oil to keep their lamps lit while the other five ran out of oil. The foolish ladies asked the wise ones to share their oil, but they couldn't because they then would run out also. While the five foolish ladies left to find oil, the bridegroom came and invited the ladies with the lit lamps to join him and then closed the doors to the wedding banquet. When the five foolish ladies returned, they knocked and pleaded to enter the banquet but were turned away as the bridegroom had already invited those who were ready earlier, to join him.

The wise virgins had kept their eye on the prize while the foolish ones took another route thinking they were as set as the wise women.

The good news is that if we keep our eyes on Jesus and keep moving forward, we will all win the prize in the end- James 1:12. today, let's all be like the tortoise and just keep moving at a pace that keeps us going forward. Throw off all distractions and keep your eyes on Jesus and salvation. The day will come like the bridegroom, and we just need to watch and be ready.

Reading through the Bible can be fun, interesting, make us smile, bring encouragement, brighten our day with hope, we can find forgiveness, love, and our God, Savior, and Friend. It may at times feel like a hopeless journey to open the pages and read all the words but when you do there is something inside of you that will begin to change. The words are no longer mere words but a story of God's love for us and a promise of a wonderful future away from this crazy world of sin we have fallen into. All it takes is a few moments of our say to read a little at a time. When we do we can find rich blessings and a new outlook on life. Letting Jesus in and closer each time is all He wants from us. So, I hope you have found that time and are studying along with me as we continue through 1 Corinthians reading and learning along the way. Today will be 1 Corinthians 5:1-13.

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog and if you'd like take a few more minutes to look around or click on my other links, God bless.

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