Eye on the Prize

He wears the ring with pride.  He wears the ring with humility.  He earned it.  The ring.  The championship ring.  The ring is big.  It looks heavy.  Pure gold.  Solid.  It’s a prize for having a winning season.  For winning the most important game of the season.  For winning the game of his life.  He played hard.  And he won.

He worked hard for that ring.  Daily workouts.  Weekly games.  Road trips.  Sacrificing time away from family and friends.  He worked for years honing his craft.  Just for a chance to win that ring.  For him.  The hard work paid off.

Oh.  It wasn’t a perfect season.  There were missteps.  There was a loss.  One loss.  That single loss dashed the hopes for a national championship.  They had to settle.  Settle for being less than number one.  There were days when the goal seemed impossible to reach.  There were naysayers.  Those who didn’t believe it was possible.  But he kept going.  Teamwork.  Training.  Determination.  Sacrifice.  Hard work.  Practice.  He still won a ring. He knows the work he put into getting the ring.   He knows the glory the ring stands for.

It’s a prize worthy of pride, for few win it.  It’s a prize worthy of humility, for few have it.  You see.  It wasn’t the top prize.  There was a loss during the season.  One game that didn’t end well.  Mistakes were made.  The price of this one loss was high.  There would be no championship game.  But that ring speaks volumes.  It defines a season of his life.  But it doesn’t define who he is.  It will always be a part of him.  After all.  He earned it fair and square.  He’ll talk about it when asked.


I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful.  And now the prize awaits me—the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on the day of his return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to his appearing.  2 Timothy 4:7-8


We’re all athletes.  Of a sort.  Life is a sport.  Of a sort.   It has many different seasons.  Winning seasons.  Losing seasons.  Good years.  Bad years.  Exciting times.  Humbling times.  We run many races.  Face multiple trials.  Endure hardships.  Suffer staggering losses.  Experience joyful times.  Earn bonuses and awards.  It’s called life.

We’re working for a prize.  A prize that we’ll never see or touch while we’re still on this earth.  The prize we’re working for is eternal.  We’ll receive that prize when we’re face to face with God.  He is our judge and the giver of all good things.

Our Christian race is run much the same as an athlete’s season.  Wins.  Losses.  Mistakes.  Championship seasons.  Awards.  Injuries.  Doesn’t mean we don’t need redemption.  We do.  All we have to do is ask.  We don’t earn it.  It’s freely given.

Oh.  Our heavenly reward will be based on our life record.  If our sins, our mistakes, our failures have been forgiven, they won’t even be on our record.  The slate will be wiped clean.  When we don’t deserve it.  Let’s keep our eye on the prize.  It’s just around the corner.

Dreams Encouraged

The women will swarm the city this week.  They will come in droves to hear speakers, to receive good gifts, to be honored. They will tour the facility.  They will party.  They will worship.  They will be celebrated, encouraged and rewarded.

This event is the culmination of a year of hard work and achievement.  Many of the women have been working for this for years.  Other women have just started their journey.  Some women have reached the heights of success.  Others are still dreaming of the prize.  Many women are leaders.  Most can only hope.

Each of these women have different goals.  Each of them views success differently.  These women are dreaming of a new life.  They’re hoping for a change in their current situation.  A good change.  A change for the better.  A fresh start.  For some, it’s a second chance.

Many of these women have worked very hard to build their business.  Most, if not all, have struggled.  Some have remained faithful and have reaped the rewards.  Others aren’t sure they have what it takes, but they still put forth an effort.  Many more have fallen by the wayside.  Not because the task is impossible, but because they didn’t persevere.  They gave up when the going got tough.  They moved on when moving up didn’t come easy.

To enjoy your work and accept your lot in life—this is indeed a gift from God.  Ecclesiastes 5:19b

I see myself in each of these women.  I’ve tried to be successful at my dreams.  I’ve persevered. For a while.  I get discouraged. I lose faith.  I back off.  I dream again.  I start the cycle once more.  I wonder if I have what it takes to be successful.  I wonder if I have what it takes to achieve my dream.

Why do I have dreams if I can’t accomplish them?  Is it too late?  Am I too old?  Do I have what it takes? How will I know if I don’t keep trying?

I shared my dream with others last year.  They encouraged me.  I dusted off my dream and began pursuing it.  It’s hard work.  It’s tough to stay motivated.  It’s invigorating.  It’s rewarding.  It’s challenging.  It’s fulfilling.

But I’ve started.  That’s the first step.  Just doing it is a great feeling.

Here’s what I wonder.  Am I successful only if I beat everyone else at the dream?  Am I proclaimed a winner only if I get the top prize?  Is it enough to pursue it and possibly never finish?

Here’s what I know.  I need to remain faithful to the dream.  I need to work at it.  Pursue it.  Try to do my best at it.

I celebrate the fact that I have dreams.  I feel empowered to pursue the ideas I envision.

I am encouraged by others to pursue the dream.  It’s my dream and I own it.

I am rewarded with peace and contentment when I am faithful to the dream.  I measure my success by knowing I’m pursuing the gifts God put within me.