Next week at New Durham Chapel we begin our Olympian kids program here on Wednesday nights. One of the key verses that the kids (K-6th grade) memorize as part of their training is found in Philippians 3:14. In this verse Paul writes, “I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus”, (NASB). I think this is a very significant and important verse for our children to memorize. It reminds them that they are to press on to grow in their spiritual life. This is a great verse for adults to memorize. I memorized this verse when I was serving the Lord as an Olympian coach way back in the early 80s in the church I was attending. Serving as an Olympian coach was a rewarding experience for me as I was growing and pressing on in following the Lord Jesus Christ. Sometimes in our Christian journey we can become discouraged, disappointed and even defeated. We wonder if our ministry is really making a difference.
Recently one of our church leaders, Angelo, who is a long retired schoolteacher, was out walking his dogs one Sunday afternoon. A car pulled over and asked him if he was a certain person whom he happened to be. The fellow who was driving the car proceeded to pull his car over and get out and approached Angelo and began to talk with him. It turned out that Angelo was his third grade teacher over 40 years ago. Angelo asked him how he could possibly have remembered him after all those years. This person proceeded to tell Angelo how he was the first positive male role model that this child had in his life and that he had a profound impact on his growing up. That was an example of Angelo’s teaching making a difference in this young child’s life. Now just think what it is like when we invest our lives in sharing the gospel with boys and girls who need Jesus Christ. We here at New Durham chapel value greatly the opportunity we have of investing the gospel into people’s lives. We press on toward the goal for the prize that God is set before us. The word “press” here in the Greek language means to “pursue relentlessly”. The Christian race is to be run with the relentless determination. We ultimately will receive a heavenly prize that will go far beyond anything that we could’ve imagined. It is an upward call because that is the direction that it will take the Christian. God is delighted when our Christian life is manifesting itself in growth, service and outreach. On the other hand, I believe God is grieved when our Christian life reflects a self-centered, self-absorbed attitude. Let us pursue the Lord Jesus Christ, growing in our walk with him. Let us not take our eyes off the prize and let us offer up unto God our very best, because that’s what He has given to us.
Shalom, Pastor Rich Sivo