One Goal, One Focus, One Prize by Mike Stoudt
Breaking of Bread-December 22, 2013
In February every year, thirty MLB teams gather in Florida and Arizona with one goal in mind: the ultimate reward of the World Series championship. In July, thirty-two NFL teams gather throughout the U.S. with one goal in mind: to win the Vince Lombardi trophy that signifies the champions of the NFL. In September, thirty NHL teams gather in the U.S. and Canada to begin their quest of hockey’s Holy Grail: the Stanley Cup as champions of hockey. In fact in all sports each team and player is focused on one goal: the discipline to be the absolute best with the eye on winning a championship. But as we who follow sports know, only one team will stand victorious at the end of the season. That doesn’t stop every player and team from their focus: trying to win a championship.
The apostle Paul uses a sports example to make his focus point. :
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. 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. 1Corinthians 9:24-25
Everything about the life of Jesus, from his birth to his death and resurrection had one goal: pointing us to God and becoming more like Jesus. The Star of Bethlehem was the brightest star in the night sky the night Jesus was born. And whether it was a comet as some astronomers believe or a nighttime star, it still was the brightest nighttime spectacle. It pointed the magi to Jesus, and that Jesus was someone special. Jesus’ life was about teaching everyone who He came into contact with how to become more like God. He taught the disciples this, that it was about serving others and not themselves.
Jesus’ focus from the moment He was born was the Cross. As Oswald Chambers states in My Utmost for His Highest:
The Cross was not something that happened to Jesus— He came to die; the Cross was His purpose in coming. … The incarnation of Christ would have no meaning without the Cross. … The purpose of the incarnation was redemption. …The Cross is the central event in time and eternity. … In secular history, the cross is an infinitesimally small thing, but from the biblical perspective it is of more importance than all the empires of the world. … If you want to know the power of God (that is the resurrection life of Jesus) in your human flesh, you must dwell on the tragedy of God. …We lose power because we don’t focus on the right thing. The effect of the cross is salvation, sanctification, healing, etc. … We are to preach Jesus
Christ and Him crucified (1 Cor. 2:2). The proclaiming of Jesus will do its own work. Concentrate on God’s focal point in your preaching, and even if your listeners seem to pay it no attention, they will never be the same again. … We have to focus on the great point of spiritual power-the Cross.
This is why Jesus established the Last Supper. To give us an example of why He came to shed his blood and give up His body. So as we gather together to celebrate the breaking of bread, let’s remember Him.
One Goal: To be more Christ-like each and every day.
One Focus: For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except the Cross of Christ and Him crucified. (1 Corinthians 2:2)
One Prize: Eternal salvation and eternal life to be spent with God the Father.
by Mike Stoudt