“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 9:25 NIV
Undeniably, more money is spent in the world of sports than ever before in the history of the universe. Golf, Tennis, Hockey, Basketball, Soccer and Baseball are just a few of the sports that pay out multi-million dollar contracts to its star players. Manny Machado recently signed a ten year, 300 million dollar contract with the San Diego Padres. Not to be outdone – Mike Trout signed a twelve year, 426.5 million dollar contract extension with the Anaheim Angels!
And what are they playing for? A crown that will not last! When a baseball team wins a World Series trophy, there is great excitement and celebration. Thousands are in attendance at the game when the final pitch is thrown, and millions more witness the resulting parade that celebrates the victorious team! Banners are waving, horns are honking, and fans are cheering!! And yet, the glory soon fades. All too soon, the shine wears off, and the lustre disappears. The temporary high is gone, and the regular humdrum of life reappears. Next year, another team will be fighting for that coveted trophy, and a new crowd will enjoy the temporary thrill, and also experience the disillusionment of passing time, as yet another Spring Training approaches.
But the apostle Paul reminds us that the heavenly crown is not as the earthly. The heavenly crown lasts forever, and we can safely conclude that the thrill, the excitement, and the wonder of receiving that crown will never fade away! The joy will never be diminished, but it will only continue to intensify forever throughout eternity.
A preacher named Edward Griffen once said, “The time must come when the feeblest saint in heaven will enjoy more in one hour than all the creation of God have enjoyed to this day, and still he has just begun his eternal progress in blessedness! From those sublime heights of ecstasy, he will ascend to heights still more sublime, reaching upwards continually!” In light of the wonder of eternal glory, we do well to ask ourselves, how much of our time is occupied with crowns that do not last? May God enable us to live passionately for the crown that never fades!!!