Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.
1 Corinthians 9:24-25
A record was set in the summer of 1995 that literally brought the sports world to its feet. Strangely, it was not some incredible record-setting blazing speed or absolute accuracy or some great display of muscular power. As a matter of fact, it was simply an honor given to someone who showed up more than anybody else in that particular sport. His name is Cal Ripken Jr., a shortstop for the Baltimore Orioles for years. He broke a record that many people thought would never be broken. It had been set by the legendary Lou Gehrig, New York Yankees’ first baseman—2,130 games before he hung up his glove and called it quits because of a disease that finally took his life.
When Ripken walked on the field to begin game 2,131, the crowd exploded. Of course, they were there that night for that purpose. For twenty-two uninterrupted minutes they stood and applauded. And a lot of us made it a point to be by the television that particular day so that we could watch history being made.
He stood there, in Ripken style, and just looked. Eyes became misty as he looked all around the stadium, a stadium where he has played ball throughout his professional career. And then he did a wonderful thing. He walked over to his family and embraced each one of them and gave something to one and a cap to another. It was just one of those great moments. It was a gracious, public declaration in honor of a man who showed up for 2,131 games, and still went on without missing.
– Chuck Swindoll