Training for the Faith Olympics

Run in such a way as to take the prize. Everyone who competes in the games trains with strict discipline. They do it for a crown that is perishable, but we do it for a crown that is imperishable.
I Corinthians 9:24–25, Berean Study Bible

Male runner silhouetted against fiery horizon
An earlier version of this poem appeared in Roberson Poetry Annual.

Dad, you’d be the saint of fitness
if Baptists thought saints
fit for veneration.
They don’t, of course.
Nobody could be that good,
except Him.

And what a pace He set!
Outrunning the field of holy men
with an unbeatable homestretch kick.

But suppose,
after all those years of running,
you discover life is nothing more
than the deadening routine
of physical exertion?

Would you stop doing calisthenics
every day at dawn,
the warm-up jumping jacks,
push-ups and squats
before you jog two miles
against the clock?

Hell no.
In the race of faith,
pain is nothing to believe in.

The bad news
that one day your lungs
will flatten like blown-out tires
is an also-ran to the saved:

There’s always forever.

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