Sitting in my son’s closet is a box of medals and trophies. They were primarily given for success in sports. He excelled in football, basketball, and baseball while playing with some great teammates. There are also a few for academic achievements. Various quiz bowl victory awards are found inside. There are also prizes from a lifetime of events and activities that serve as rewards for his hard work.
All those medals were once proudly displayed as monumental achievements. There were hours of practice devoted to perfecting his skill. Then, more hours of study and mental preparation were required. Then he performed in a way that allowed him to get the prize. Pictures were taken and placed on social media. He boasted about his achievements and had the metal to prove his prowess.
Now. They sit in a box in my closet, about 100 miles from where he lives. He has no desire to take them, and I don’t have the heart to throw them away. Once, these metals garnered pride, and now they gather dust.
The Apostle Paul wrote to the Christians in the city of Ephesus and told them this truth about people. “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.” (1 Corinthians 9:25 – NIV 2011).
Every metal, prize, and trophy will one day be trash. If not, they will be held onto by a family member who doesn’t value them but can’t bring themselves to throw them away. Paul encourages the people who follow Jesus to spend their life and energy trying to do something for eternity. It is the only thing that will truly last a lifetime … and more.