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CALL : +685 24414
FAX 20429
5th Floor John Williams Building
Tamaligi, Apia

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Friday 9 February

Press on to win – against whom?
Read Philippians 3:12–16 but this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on towards the goal … (verses 13b–14)

Listening this week to Paul it must have often felt that we have been in the presence of a dauntingly pumped-up athlete at the peak of his fitness, and we have witnessed him, every muscle, sinew and pulsing vein, launching himself towards the finish line. But here’s a question to ponder – whom is he racing against? There were those in the early Church (look at 1 Corinthians 1 for a glimpse of this) who would have liked to have fragmented the Church into competitive groups, each following a different leader. Paul argues against that – instead, when you listen to this extraordinary, inspirational, sometimes disturbing person, the ‘other’ competitor in Paul’s life race is, invariably, himself. Constantly, he tries to master the legalism and control of his former life as it wrestles with the Spirit-fuelled, bareback ride which has followed his encounter with Jesus on the Damascus Road. No wonder the poor man sounds extreme at times!

As a counterpoint to Paul’s energy and drive, I remember watching severely disabled participants in the 2016 Rio Olympics compete in the sport of Boccia. As with bowls or curling, competitors aim to place leather balls as close to a jack as possible. Some throw conventionally, others push with a variety of limbs which are mobile and have control. Progress is often slow and painstaking. Listening to Paul, watching the Boccia competitors, I realise that ‘winning’ in God’s terms is not about becoming a spiritual superstar but simply using whatever gifts and opportunities we have to live the life of God’s kingdom where and how we are.

† Loving God, take my strength and talents; take my past journeying; take my future days and let me serve you well. Amen

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