My favorite part about watching the Olympics is seeing the gold medalists realize their dreams have finally come true. I love seeing the tension in their face just moments before the final scores are announced, and then the flood of tears and joy that comes when they know they’ve clinched the gold.
It’s got me wondering, though—how fulfilling is a gold medal victory for an Olympian when they’ve finally hung up their skis and skates, life moves on, and the medal just sits on a shelf year after year?
In the apostle Paul’s day, the Isthmian Games (similar to the ancient Olympic Games) were held in Corinth and were a huge deal throughout Greece. Paul knew his audience would understand what he was talking about when he wrote this in 1 Corinthians 9:24-26:
“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable…”
After all of their hard work and discipline to compete, an Isthmian Games winner was crowned with nothing more than a wreath made of leaves that would wither away and die. Paul wanted the Corinthians—and us—to know that there’s a prize far better and longer lasting than a wreath or a gold medal, and that’s a relationship with Jesus Christ.
A Prize That Never Dies
Today, a teenagers’ “gold medal” could be popularity, getting tons of likes on social media, being good at sports, getting good grades, having sex, going to parties, and the list could go on and on. Every student in your youth group has friends who are trapped looking for fulfillment in all the wrong places, and your students can help them find what they’ve been searching for.
This is why it’s so important for teenagers to learn to share the gospel—so that other teens can find fulfillment in Jesus Christ!
Let’s pray that our students would be burdened to tell their friends about the ultimate prize of knowing Christ, and that the temporal “gold medals” of the world would never be their main ambition.
If you’re looking for new ways to train your teens to share their faith, we have an incredible, intense, weeklong training event coming up this summer called Lead THE Cause (LTC). At LTC, your students will learn to pray for, care for, and share the gospel with others and truly live out THE Cause of Christ for the rest of their lives.
Dare 2 Share also has tons of powerful curriculums, books, and articles with practical tips to help you build a youth ministry that spreads the gospel far and wide. Let’s help our teenagers chase after what’s worth unfathomably more than a gold medal and equip them to bring every one of their unsaved friends along!