Posts Tagged ‘Peachtree Road Race’

Sermon 07-12-15: “Running to Win”

July 27, 2015

1 Corinthians sermon series graphic

There’s an annual 10K road race in Atlanta each year on the fourth of July, the Peachtree Road Race. Most of the 60,000 runners run with one goal: not to win the race but to win the T-shirt. In other words, they’re running to finish. While running to finish is OK for the Peachtree, this kind of attitude won’t suffice for running the race of Christian faith, as Paul’s words in today’s scripture make clear.

Sermon Text: 1 Corinthians 9:19-27


[To listen on the go, right-click here to download an MP3.]


I know that some of you ran the Peachtree Road Race this year. Raise your hand if you ran the Peachtree. Did you win? Top ten? Top 50? Top thousand? Top ten thousand?

Did you finish at all? That’s good!

I’ve run it several times myself. Once, when my son Townshend was around four or five years old, I ran the Peachtree. And when I came home, he asked me, in complete sincerity, “Daddy, did you win?” Because it’s a race. And he rightly assumed that if you’re running a race, you should be running to win. The point of most races is to win—or at least it should be.

That particular year, not only didn’t I win, I finished in about 50 minutes—five zero—which would be about 21 minutes slower, for example, than this year’s winner!

So of course I had to explain to Townshend that the vast majority of people who run the Peachtree are not running to win the race. They’re running to finish. They’re running to win the T-shirt. And that’s fine… when it comes to running the Peachtree.

Now I know for many of us amateurs, it takes a lot of training just to finish the Peachtree. But suppose we were running to win the Peachtree. How different would our training look? We’d be up in the morning every day, for one thing. No sleeping in. In fact, we’d probably change our sleeping routine and other habits. We’d probably get ourselves a running coach. We’d probably consult with our doctor. We might invest in better shoes and training equipment. We might do some strength training. We would definitely want to run in other races leading up to the Peachtree. We would definitely watch what we ate and drank—take care of our diets, perhaps consult with a nutritionist.

Doing all these things still wouldn’t guarantee a victory—much less a top ten, top 50, top thousand, or even top ten thousand finish—but at least we could say were running to win.

Not many of us would commit the time, the energy, the money to do that… and that’s perfectly O.K. For the Peachtree.

But suppose we compare living the Christian life to running a race, as Paul does in today’s scripture. When it comes to running the “race” of our Christian life, running just to finish is not O.K. Running just to win the T-shirt is not fine. Read the rest of this entry »