1 Corinthians 9:24–27
Worried that his friends in Corinth were becoming spiritually flabby, Paul sought to stir them to focus, action, and discipline. And so, he used a metaphor that immediately grabbed the attention of the Christians in Corinth, as he talked first about a running race and then switched the metaphor over to boxing. The Corinthians would have understood what he meant immediately, because their city was a sports capital of the day.
The Isthmian Games, the forerunner to the Olympics, were held in Corinth every other year. The streets of the city would have teemed with athletes and trainers, all hoping for success in their chosen sport. But they were more than hopeful. Every day the citizens of Corinth would have seen the grimacing faces and sweating bodies of dedicated athletes. They were in the games, but not playing games; the Isthmian event was about passion, not amusement.
Before we continue our journey further, let’s pause and see that Paul used a contemporary, relevant illustration in order to stir the Corinthian believers out of their lethargy. Paul’s use of the sporting metaphor shows that we need inspirational and applicable preaching and teaching that will connect our Sunday mornings to our Monday mornings.
Like Paul, Jesus used everyday events, drawn from the lives of His hearers, to illustrate His teachings. Pray for those who are responsible for teaching and preaching in our churches, that their communications will be rooted in eternal truth—illustrated and applied for today.
Pray: Lord, I pray for those with the huge responsibility of teaching relevant and applicable truths in the church. Amen.