‘Running the Race’ is Taking On a Whole New Meaning For Me

One of the things that has really helped me stay on course in life is reading the Bible and thinking about what it says. Over the years I’ve been fortunate to be involved with study groups from a number of different walks of life.  For many years I was studying with coaches on our coaching staffs.  We would all get The One Year Bible® and read the same passages with each other every day.  We’d usually get together on Tuesday mornings to discuss what we had read the past week and how it impacted our lives.

Since retiring, I’ve stayed in touch with some coaches and we’re having Bible study by conference call twice a month. That has been rewarding and I’ve also gotten a chance to read with my wife, Lauren, in the mornings. We try to do it every morning. It has been uplifting to read with her and share our thoughts and questions with each other.  I have one other group that I read with as well.  James Brown, the CBS sportscaster, has become a great friend of mine. He introduced me to a Bible study group he started at the London Hotel in New York.  The CBS broadcasters and our group from NBC spend the weekends at the London during the football season, and JB has been great about keeping us in tune spiritually.  So even during the off-season, we stay in touch by phone. We’re going through the book of 1st Corinthians on Wednesdays.

Last week, we discussed Chapter 9. It was pretty enlightening to me.  I mentioned that one of my favorite passages for many years was Chapter 9, verses 24-27, where Paul talked about running in a race.  He states that we should run to win. I always loved that; because—as a young athlete—it let me know that there was nothing wrong with competing, with striving to be the best and desiring to be special in your sport. It goes on to say that we shouldn’t chase goals that will fade away, but we should work even harder for the “imperishable wreaths” of spiritual goals.  Now that I’m really finished with my athletic career, this passage became so much more meaningful to me.  I see the reality of it—that when you’re finished, you do have the memories of winning games, or even winning a championship. Those things won’t last forever. There will come a time when you realize that those accomplishments won’t define you as a person. We will all end up as ex-players or ex-coaches at some point.  It’s only the spiritual things that will really last. We can’t neglect working hard in that area of our lives if we want to be truly “successful.”