Paul loves his illustrations and sports are metaphors are not under-represented. Here in 1 Corinthians 9:24 he talks about runners. Running is a sport that I just don’t get. I see running as a means to an end, such as running in order to get to a soccer ball. But my personal opinion aside, running certainly has its fans and it most certainly has an ancient history.
Running is not just something you can do without any work involved. Paul’s audience knew how athletes, even ones with natural gifts, had to train themselves. If you were to enter a race, you prepare for it and put your body through intense workouts. That is Paul’s image here, but he of course, is alluding to something greater than a race. Nonetheless, that image is powerful and deserving of some thoughtful meditation and even memorization.
What race is God calling us to? What does it mean for a Christian to hit the gym in preparation for God’s work?