Striving from the Sidelines

Fruitfulness in the Christian life is linked to hard work. I just watched a Penn State player intercept a pass and run it back 99 yards. If he had strained just a bit harder, it might have been a legendary play. As it happened, the half ended while he was running, and getting tackled a yard short of the end zone means you get nothing but a few seconds on the highlight real. He went into the locker room wondering what might have happened if he’d just tried a bit harder. Paul didn’t want to have that feeling when the horn sounded the end of his life. He was straining forward, looking ahead, reaching out with his hands, and running with all his might. This requires a constant attitude of straining forward no matter what happens to your circumstances. That’s where Paul shines. He tells us he is straining forward with all his might for what lies ahead, while imprisoned and prevented from doing the work that was his life’s calling. If anyone knew how to strive while sidelined, it was Paul. In a day when idleness is the reward for hard work, Philippians 3:13 is a welcome corrective.

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