“But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep… For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all who are His will be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ’s at His coming.” 1Corinthians 15:19; 22-23
I like to win. If I don’t feel I can win, I’d rather not compete, which is why I almost dropped out of the 2011 McFarland Triathlon my brother Mike asked me to be part of.
It was a co-ed competition with three legs to the race: swimming sixteen laps in the pool, running five miles, and riding a bike fifteen miles. Mike’s usual swimmer couldn’t compete that year, so he asked if I would fill in.
I hastily said “yes” thinking it would motivate me to get in shape, but as I began to practice, I realized it was too much. I almost called Mike, but decided to train in the health club pool a few more weeks before dropping out. I eventually found that I could make the sixteen laps if I did half breaststroke and only half front crawl. I wasn’t fast, but I knew I could at least finish. Maybe the other teams weren’t that great anyway?
I was wrong. There was a sixteen year old girl sharing my lane who was fast and strong. She didn’t just beat me; she lapped me! I was so humiliated by my horrible first leg that I left a message on Mike’s phone telling him that I wouldn’t be at the awards ceremony. It wasn’t just my bad performance that made me feel ashamed; I had ruined it for the team.
Two hours later Mike called to tell me he would be dropping off my gold medal! I was shocked. He told me the story: “You were way behind after the swim and then we were even farther behind after my run, but Darcy (who once tried out for the Olympics) was so fast on the bike that she caught and passed everyone else. We won! We all get a gold medal.”
This is the gospel in a nutshell. It isn’t about our performance. It’s about whose team we’re on. Everyone who puts their trust in Christ will win for all eternity. He’s that good!