A record in the sport of tennis was broken that 10 years prior many had thought would never happen. In July of 2012, Roger Federer became the first player in tennis to be ranked at the top of the Tennis world (not consecutively) for a total of 287 weeks.
An untouchable status?
The previous record holder, Pete Sampras, had reached 286 weeks as #1 and that was to most tennis fans, untouchable. Just like so many records before, what seemed an impossibility was soon left behind. For Federer of course, he kept adding to those weeks at #1 and only time will tell where he finishes.
The reality is that no one can stay #1 forever no matter the sport. The glory that comes with it (even well deserved) fades and someone else comes along to take the top honours.
An eternal prize
It’s not like that in the Christian life. I was reminded of 1 Corinthians 9:25, “All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize.”
For the believer each one of us can obtain a prize that lasts forever. God has promised this. Paul says in Philippians 3:14, “I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.”
Comparing is dangerous
As I follow tennis it is clear that fans of one player are constantly comparing their favorite to others. For the Christian we should never get into the habit of comparing ourselves (or anyone for that matter) to others.
Galatians 6:4 tells us, “Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else.” Our focus must be on our own lives and service for the Lord.
It is even greater a threat when we start taking sides on doctrine and draw weapons to fight against other brothers and sisters. While we are not expected to give up our convictions we should not use them to attack others.
So what is your prize? Are you training and striving for an eternal prize that will never fade or an earthly reward that is passing?