Stop Whining and Get to Work - The Warrior's Journey®

Stop Whining and Get to Work

Author: Chaplain, COL Scott McChrystal, USA (Ret.)

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“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. There I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.” (1 Corinthians 9:24-27) 

The Corinthian believers were whining. “Why do I have to restrict my Christian freedom for the sake of some believer who’s too weak in faith to believe that food offered to idols is nothing and that all things come from God and are good? His lack of faith and spiritual insight are his problem, not mine.  Now, just because of his superstitions – that eating meat offered to idols is somehow defiling – I have to restrict my diet. It’s not fair.” 

Paul answers this whining with the example of his own life. “So, you think your Christian freedom is being restricted? Why don’t you step into my shoes? I’ll show you what restricting personal freedoms is all about. For, though I have spiritual insight, knowledge, and faith that you cannot imagine, I still make myself a slave of everyone else’s convictions. Why? So that I’ll won’t in any way inhibit the spread of the Gospel. For the sake of those who only respect preachers who adhere to the Law, I adhere to the Law. For the sake of those who have no background in the Law, I speak as one who is just like them. I make sacrifices continually in order to identify with those I preach to, so that I may win to the Lord as many as possible. I do not even accept payment from those with whom I share the wealth of the Gospel, lest I in any way impede its progress.” 

In the end Paul tells these whining Corinthians that he has seen more dedication and self-denial among worldly athletes. They only compete for a perishable wreath, but Christian believers labor for an eternal crown. Paul, like an athlete in training, denies his bodily appetites and pushes himself to be in the best possible condition as a runner in the Lord’s race. All that he does for the Lord he does intensely and stays focused on the prize to be won. For, Paul explains, as in a competitive race, there is a very real likelihood of failure among Christ’s disciples.  There will be many among God’s runners who, when they cross the finish line, will wish that they had been more devoted to the Lord, had worked harder for Him, and had wasted less time on the temporary pleasures of this life. 


  • How does your devotion to God compare with that of Paul’s? Of Christ’s? 
  • If only what we do for Christ will last for eternity (1 John 2:17), then how much of your labors on earth will make it into heaven? 
  • Only one life, so soon it will pass. Only what’s done for Christ will last.  

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