I Cor 9: 24 “Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.”
There are many ways to run the race. The most crucial ingredient is to be in prayer and be sure you are running in the power of the Holy Spirit—as Philip was when he ran and caught up with the Ethiopian Eunuch in his chariot in the 8th chapter of Acts. Philip ran in order to share the glorious gospel of the risen Savior that the prophet had written about in the portion of scripture the Eunuch was reading. Philip took only what the Eunuch had and, starting from that small portion of knowledge, built a bridge of knowledge that led to the Eunuch’s faith in the risen Lord and the Eunuch’s Salvation and Baptism. Church history tells us this led to the first spread of the gospel message through Ethiopia and from there to other parts of Africa.
There are many ways of running the race. But they all have one thing in common: to win. When contemplating this, I first thought of an old black-and-white movie that as a child long ago made a lasting impression on me. It was based on the first time the cadets at West Point had seen “the forward pass” used in a football game.
This of course, was in the famous black and white movie with Notre Dame beating West Point.
But what I remembered most was the West Point cadets’ coach telling them after the game the lesson THEY needed to learn was to be prepared for the unexpected, or instead to be prepared to handle the unexpected on the battlefield, because their nation would be entrusting them with the lives of their sons and the safety of their nation. They needed to be prepared to adapt and, in effect, always be running to win . . .taking what was being presented to them and using it to win the race or contest.
Christians have used bifold and trifold pamphlets called tracts, radio programs, puppets, children and adult plays, musicals, books, museums, songs, cartoons, movies, TV-shows, and even social media to run and reach souls with the Gospel. As forms of communication continue to change, so will the opportunities to share the Gospel. West Point Cadets are not the only ones who need to be prepared to adapt and be prepared for the unexpected.
Even as Philip, under the leading of the Holy Spirit, took what was presented to him to share the message of the Gospel, we must be ever in prayer, seeking to walk in the Spirit, to be led by the Spirit, to be prepared to present the Gospel with the examples, methods, and opportunities God offers to us.