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Running for the Prize

I stood somewhere I never expected. On a winner’s podium in the first place spot, for the most unlikely reason, running. Yes, I run in timed races, so it’s not impossible except that I’m not a fast runner.

Saturday, I participated in a color run in conjunction with a Walk 4 Life to support Living Hope Centers, our local crisis pregnancy center. I’m not one to walk or march, but if there’s one cause, it’s the sanctity of life no matter what form it takes. What I love most about Living Hope specifically is that they not only provide counseling on abortion alternatives, they teach parenting classes, provide employment and housing for women and their children.

Most participants walked but a few of us ran. I was in the lead for most of the race and was tempted to slow down. I kept remembering the verse, “do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.” (I Corinthians 9:24, ESV). I had the opportunity to win, I couldn’t not do it.

Because there’s more to this passage. It’s not about “winning” in the coming in first place definition but about doing our best for God. This is the remainder of the passage, “every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. 26So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. 27But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.” (I Corinthians 9:25-27, ESV)

Not only do I train my body to run, but my mind to grow in Christ. Lately, God has been pulling me through the refiner’s fire changing my heart as well. It’s coated in the verdigris of pride and arrogance so that it’s as green as the Statue of Liberty. Interestingly, the green patina is often used to protect the metal. My desire is to be as shiny as the copper dome of the Arizona state capitol, even if it makes me more vulnerable.

Oh, and I’m not the true winner, that goes to one of the boys in my Sunday school class. The enterprising kindergartener raised the most money in our community by selling chocolate chip cookies. (Author’s note: They were yummy!)

Have you ever won a competition or award that was completely unexpected?

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About Gretchen E K Engel

Chemical engineer by day, spec fiction writer by night

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