June 20, 2020
The story is told of a group of children that ran in the Special Olympics in the mid-1970s. These were boys and girls enjoying a day out in the sun and running races. They were happy and excited to be in the 100-yard race. They were jumping up and down waiting for the signal so they could begin. Then the signal was given to begin the race. The children took off for the finish line. They started running as fast as they could. They were giving it all they had. If you had been there, you would have seen the joy on their faces as they ran down the course—they were having a great time!
Then, suddenly, one of the children tripped and fell shortly after starting. There was a gasp and then a hushed silence as the crowd looked on. A couple of the other racers heard crying and looked behind them. They saw the fallen child lying on the ground. They stopped running, turned around, and started running back toward the starting line. The crowd wondered, “What are they doing? The finish line is the other way!” Then the crowd watched as these two children stopped by the fallen racer. They reached down to help the child up. They had given up their chance to win the race. And they had gone back to help the child who had fallen.
Once they had brushed the dirt off the fallen child, the two children linked their arms through the fallen child’s arms, and together they once again started toward the finish line. Those three children crossed the finish line, not as individuals, but together! The crowd was moved to tears, and those three children received a cheering applause.
There are several other stories in which an athlete has fallen and another has given up the race to help the injured person. Why? Because they realized that the race wasn’t just about winning, it was about how they wanted to reach the finish line. This is what it means to truly care about others. Our goal is heaven, and we want to “run with endurance the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1, NKJV). And along the way, we want to help others learn about Jesus “so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24, NKJV).—Kathleen Sowards.
Memory Text: “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown” (1 Corinthians 9:24, 25, NKJV).
Our Beliefs, no. 22, Christian Behavior: “We are called to be a godly people who think, feel, and act in harmony with biblical principles in all aspects of personal and social life. For the Spirit to recreate in us the character of our Lord we involve ourselves only in those things that will produce Christlike purity, health, and joy in our lives. This means that our amusement and entertainment should meet the highest standards of Christian taste and beauty.”
Ellen G. White, Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, pp. 141-144.
Read Colossians 3:17.
It’s Friday afternoon, and you and some of your good friends are trying to decide how to spend the afternoon. Someone suggests playing a sports game, but you know that these types of games usually end up with someone hurt or in a disagreement. Another suggests visiting a friend who is recovering from a long illness.
How will your decision affect your friendships? Are you willing to spend the afternoon visiting a sick friend? How could you make this second option more appealing to your friends?
Read Psalm 106:3; Romans 12:1, 2; Ephesians 5:1, 2.
We represent God here on earth. Everything we do and everything we say will bring either dishonor or glory to God. The things we do and say can influence others to accept God as their loving Savior or influence them to turn away from Him. If we accept and follow God’s plan for our lives, we will be influences for good. We will show His love to the world around us.
In what ways do you represent God’s love to those around you?
Unscramble the following words and put them in the verse below where they belong.
“Finally, brethren, whatever things are whatever things are, whatever things are, whatever things are, whatever things are, whatever things are of good, if there is any and if there is anything—meditate on these things” (Philippians 4:8, NKJV).
Read James 1:19, 20.
The biggest competition a Christian will face is not the kind found on a sports field. It is the one found in our own lives. There are things in life that guide us, and they are called “priorities.” Each of us must decide what our guiding priorities are.
We need to focus on the competition within ourselves. We all face struggles in making decisions—will we put Jesus first, or will we follow our selfish desires? Will we make the decision to follow the Lord, or will we choose the easy path that leads to the destruction of our souls? We need the power of the Holy Spirit to help overcome the natural human tendencies to put ourselves first at any cost.
This race for heaven is not a competition against others. Jesus died for everyone. Salvation is a gift offered to every person ever born. Our highest priority is to win others for Christ!
Only God can give us a kingdom perspective to help us understand where this race really is in the grand scheme of things. Are the things of this earth more important than the relationships we build for heaven? Are power, money, and fame more important than reflecting God’s love to someone else? Are our own wants more important than winning someone for Christ and His kingdom? That is the real “race” we are involved in on this earth.
Fill in the blanks after looking up the texts in the New International Version (NIV) of the Bible. If you do not have an NIV Bible, you can go to Biblegateway.com.
1. “A person’s yields; it is to one’s glory to an” (Proverbs 19:11).
2. “My dear and, take note of this: should be quick to, slow to and slow to become, because human anger does not produce the that God” (James 1:19, 20).
3. “‘I have the to do,’ you say—but not is. ‘I have the to do”—but not is” (1 Corinthians 10:23).
4. “And you do, whether in or, do it in the name of the, giving to God the Father through him” (Colossians 3:17).
5. “Whatever your finds to, do it with your, for in the realm of the dead, where you are going, there is neither nor nor nor” (Ecclesiastes 9:10).
6. “Put on the armor of God, so that you can take your stand the devil’s schemes. For our is against flesh and blood, but the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand then, with the of buckled around your waist, with the of in place, and with your with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, up the of, with which you can extinguish the flaming arrows of the evil one. the of and the of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:11-17).
Read Ecclesiastes 9:10.
Review the memory text.
We have to be students of the Bible and of the principles that Christ put forward while He was here on earth. The more we study Christ, the more we realize that the kingdom of God is not about status, position, winning, or even getting ahead. Rather, His kingdom is about the willingness to see others as equals, regardless of their talents, and to create a cooperative effort with those with whom we come in contact.
Christ is asking you to see everyone, even those on the other side of the court or field, as a brother or a sister. Play hard, to the best of your ability, but always keep a perspective of Christ’s will for you and His kingdom close to your heart.
Read Matthew 16:26; Philippians 3:7, 8, 14.
Look at the questions below. We know that winning and losing are different in the world’s estimate from how God and Christians view and understand them. Answer each question listing or drawing various attributes (qualities, characteristics, aspects) of each.
How does the world understand success and winning?
How does the Christian understand true success?
How does the world understand losing and failure?
How does the Christian understand losing and failure?