Competing for the Prize

Williams Baptist College FCA
Williams Baptist College FCA

In the middle of the Chicago Cubs incredible season and play off run, so far, in which the Cubs knocked off the team with the second best record in baseball (the Pirates) and then the first best record in baseball (the Cardinals), I have to pause. and, I am reminded about what is most important in life.

I am a lifelong Cubs fan. My father took me to Wrigley field for the first time when I was 7 in 1967. The Cubs played the Reds. Ron Santo hit a home run, and the Cubs won. I was hooked. I ate, slept and lived Cubs baseball.

I used to run home from grade school every day in September of 1968 to watch the end of the Cubs games as they competed for a National League championship. I remember too well 1969 when The Miracle Mets somehow passed the Cubs and took the championship that year.

The hapless Cubs have had other great teams, but are known more for their failures than victories. I was at the Bartman game in which a seemingly invincible Cubs team fell apart in the span of one inning and lost that game and then the series to the unheralded Florida Marlins. Leaving that game was like a funeral procession.

Ron Santo and Ernie Banks, two of my childhood heroes, have passed on. The childhood dreams of athletic victory have passed too. The excitement fades even when the victory is obtained.

Jordan Burroughs, perhaps the greatest athlete most people have never heard of, attained the highest achievement in the world of amateur wrestling. He put together a string of nearly 100 victories over all the best opponents in the world. He won a World Gold medal on a broken foot and went on to win several more and an Olympic Gold medal.

He is still, in 2015, the best of the best at his weight, but he came to a realization after he won the Olympic Gold medal. After the cheering stopped, after leaving the arena, after the thrill of the moment faded, achieving the very greatest accomplishment that anyone in his sport can achieve was not what he thought it would be. He trained most of his life for that moment, but the moment faded into the reality of every day life.

For Jordan, he realized there has to be more. This can not be all there is. We are made for something more, something greater. Our purpose is not accomplished in winning gold medals or World Series in our lives. Those things pass. Our highest purpose is found in relation to God, our Creator.

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. 1 Cor. 9:24-25

There is an imperishable prize, and competing for the prize that will not fade, will not rust and will not rot is more important than any earthly prize. To be right with God, to be one with God to be a child of God is a prize worth competing for above all prizes.

Chris Coghlan who is competing for the Chicago Cubs in what might be the historic year in which “the curse” is broken and the Cubs win the World Series, came to the same realization that Jordan Burroughs did. And, even if the Cubs fail to achieve that pinnacle… again… Chris Coghlan found something that will not fail. Here is his story.

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