Nothing Like a Duck Trophy
Friday - May 20th
Today's Scripture to Read: 1 Corinthians 9:24-27
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.
1 Corinthians 9:24
Did you throw your duck trophy away too? You know the prize you won when you were named "Reserve Grand Champion" in the Duck raising category of the 4-H County Fair. Didn't everyone get that kind of trophy? Boy, how I wish I had kept mine. It would be quite the conversation piece in our home or my office if I still had it today!
In August of 1980, when I was about 14 years old, I won "Reserve Grand Champion" in Duck Raising at the Saint Joseph County 4-H Fair in South Bend, Indiana. My victory came because out of the 25 to 30 kids in the duck raising category of the poultry competition, my ducks were recognized as second-best overall. Mr. Rose from Rose's Hatchery in South Bend, IN, the place I had purchased ten tiny ducklings early that spring, was one of the judges. He shared with me words I will never forget, words I have lived by ever since. "Those sure are nice ducks." It can't get any better than that - can it?
The trophy was a standard trophy. But where most sporting trophies would have a basketball or basketball player, a football or football player, even a bowling ball or a guy bowling molded out of metal on top, mine had a duck. Yep. Just a duck. I so wish I had kept that trophy.
What award or prize from your past do you wish you still had today? I am not sure Lesli would have appreciated putting my duck raising prize anywhere that others could have seen it. Do you have any of those kinds of awards? You know the ones you laugh about more than the ones you relish?
In the first century, as the New Testament was being written, Olympic style competitions were held throughout the Roman Empire. The prize for the winner would be a wreath of fresh leaves. Considered a "crown," this wreath would be worn with pride for what the wearer had accomplished. In 1 Corinthians 9:24-27, Paul speaks of this type of crown in reference to running the Christian race.
As we run the Christian race, our passion is to please and glorify Jesus. We don't read God's Word, pray, or seek to serve others to get attention or to defeat others. We run with our eyes on the prize of pleasing Jesus because our lives have pointed others to Him. We do not want to distract from the person and work of Jesus Christ. If we become a distraction, we forfeit the crown that is ours to lose as His followers.
There are five heavenly crowns mentioned in the New Testament that will be awarded to believers. They are the imperishable crown, the crown of rejoicing, the crown of righteousness, the crown of glory, and the crown of life. Some suggest that Paul's reference in 1 Corinthians 9:25 to a crown is a summary of all five crowns. What would we do with such a prize when we get to Heaven? Will we wear them like some top brand fashion apparel to show off who we are and what we accomplished as we ran the race of life on earth? No.
The Apostle John's great glimpse of things to come in the Book of Revelation gives a little insight into what we will do with any prizes we receive in Heaven. In Revelation 4:10-11, as he views the worship scene around the throne upon which Christ sits, John sees the beings of
Heaven throw their crowns at the base of the throne. One day, we will take any reward we hold, and we will realize we deserve none of the recognition for what was accomplished. We, too, will cast our crowns at the feet of Jesus. We will know our salvation, and anything we did in service for God all was completed because of God's grace toward us. We will then do what all who cast their crowns at the feet of Jesus in John's incredible revelation do. We will lift up the name of Jesus. We will praise Him!
Maybe you missed out on being awarded a duck trophy. We can't all be brilliant when it comes to raising ducks. But, by God's grace, each of us can accomplish much for our Savior. God has big plans for us as we run the race set out before us. A crown awaits those who ran with Him and for Him in this world. Even before you throw your crowns at the feet of Jesus in Heaven, take time today to praise and thank Him for what He has done in and through you!
We should do nothing for our own glory and do everything for the Lord's glory!