I was waiting for my boys to come out of the locker room after the game. They were taking their time, and everyone else was quickly clearing out, so I soon found myself almost alone. A little bored I began to look in the trophy case.
In the case, I found there were trophies of all sizes. Large trophies from placing high in State competition to small ones for local tourneys. I also noticed that these rewards were given for all kinds of activities. They ranged from clubs to sports to academics. The dates for these prizes ranged from recent dates clear back to the 1950’s. It was an eclectic collection of wood and metal for achievements from student’s high school careers.
I noticed three things about the trophy case and the contents it held.
First – of the making of awards there is no end. Honestly, I thought the best part of this collection is that it keeps some people employed somewhere. Every year there are more trophies to make for the next group of teens who come along. As long as there are students, there will be prizes to be handed out.
Second – No one besides me cared at that moment. I am sure those trophies were once held high as great achievements from hard work and dedication. I am sure there were individuals who had spent hours practicing and preparing to receive their prize. They represented teams that practiced and practiced until they hurt from their commitment. Now, as people stood in that hallway waiting no one even looked beside me. With no personal connection and experience, these splendid little creations were just metal and wood.
Third – The dust on each was thick. I am not mad at some janitor for their lack of work to keep the case clean. I sure it is a huge job. That was not my thought process. I was focused on how these prizes were once considered invaluable. There was a moment when a person or a group of people accomplished something they thought would hold an enormous impact on their life. Now there were old possessions that no one cared to tend to anymore.
My final thoughts were very clear, “How much sacrifice did these trophies represent?” There were families that gave up money and time to make put these trophies in the case. There were people who missed families events, skipped Church and lost sleep to obtain these rewards. There were individuals who gave selflessly in every way so that each trophy could be in that case. The final result was that no one cared anymore.
The words of the Apostle Paul clearly came to my mind as I stood there that night. 1 Corinthians 9:25 “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.”
Following Jesus requires the same hard work and dedication it took to get those trophies. We do it to obtain a crown that will not collect dust but the crown of eternal life.
When you decide what you are going to give your time, money and talent to, I ask that you would stand in front of a trophy case and ask, “Is it really worth it?”