Robert Griffith | 10 December 2023
Robert Griffith
10 December 2023


1 Corinthians 9:24-25  “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.”

After writing and publishing millions of words online, last week I received the first copy of my first printed book: Amazing Grace. As I flicked through the pages which contain more than 90,000 words, I came to the last page and read the last two lines. They are the words of the Apostle Paul and a reflection of my greatest desire and passion and the reason I wrote this book.

Acts 20:24  “However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.”

As I reflected on ‘the race’ I was seeking to finish and ‘the task the Lord Jesus has given me,’ I was reminded of the truly amazing moment in the Beijing Olympics when Romania’s Tomescu-Dita crossed the finish line in the Women’s Marathon. She not only won the gold medal, but, at 38 years of age, she became the oldest Olympian ever to do so, leaving 83 competitors in her dust.

Tomescu-Dita led the race unchallenged for more than an hour, running alone for more than half of the race – a remarkable achievement given the quality of the Beijing field. I watched her running along the gruelling course that snaked through the streets of Beijing from Tiananmen Square to the Bird’s Nest stadium.

I watched her become energized when the stadium came into sight and then as she circled outside before entering the stadium, I was impressed with something the announcer said, declaring that, “Entering the stadium of victory is something that every marathon runner looks forward to.”

Tomescu-Dita looked strong as she entered the National Stadium to a rousing ovation from the crowd of over 60,000. The cheers reached a crescendo as she emerged from the tunnel entrance.

I thought of a spiritual and Biblical parallel. In the text above, Paul speaks of the ancient games where people run to win a wreath that will not last, but that a Christian runs to win a crown that will last forever, life for eternity with Jesus. Just as the marathoner looks to the stadium and finish line of victory, we as Christians look to the goal of victory through eternal unity with God in His heavenly kingdom and the heavenly crowd will cheer.

Life is a race and the finish line is in the arena of victory is heaven. Paul expresses it again here:

Philippians 3:13-14  “Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

Now that’s what I really call running for gold.