Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 1 Corinthians 9:24-25
The Corinthians were familiar with the races. Every other year they held Isthmian Games (athletic games organized c. 581 BC and played on the isthmus, a narrow strip of land bordered by water and connecting two larger bodies of land, or Corinth) that were second only to the Olympics in importance. The price was a wreath, which obviously did not last. In contrast to that, Christ’s faithful followers will win a “crown that will last forever”, referring to the victory of eternal salvation-being with God forever-the greatest goal of the Christian life. This goal can only be achieved by giving up some of our rights for the sake of others and by abandoning those things that would take us out of the race altogether. We must view the Christian life not as a matter of what we can get from God as much as what we can surrender for his purposes. In doing so, we will discover that there is nothing that we can surrender for his sake that he will not return to us in the form of a far greater benefit or reward-if not in this life, then in eternity.