'The ultimate prize is not a medal but the ever-lasting crown of righteousness given by Jesus'
Christian Comment with Elaine Venning, Area Christian Aid Organiser RUN the race and look to Jesus has been an essential part of the Christian mind-set ever since St Paul wrote to Timothy in the first century and reminded him that it is only the athlete who competes according to the rules who can win the prize.
Like the preceding events, the British Olympics will show us both the glory and the agony of competing in the Games.
At least one national charity has recently encouraged ordinary folks to Race for Life and use the keep fit awareness to help others.
That is close to discovering the heart of the Gospel's engine power, the love of God, serving others, putting yourself out.
Or as I was taught as a child, putting Jesus, Others, Yourself in that order you find spells JOY.
Yet without answering two fundamental questions, the power eludes us and the vehicle of faith is not turned on.
Those questions are what's in it for me and who is Jesus to me? Paul in his short letters to Timothy found in the Bible - gives answer.
He shows clearly the ultimate prize was more than a fading wreath of glory, it is the ever-lasting crown of righteousness to be given by Jesus himself and well worth the daily disciplines of continuing to choose Jesus and make him the Lord of our particular life.
After all making the sign of the cross is the 'I' in me crossed out, and preferring to do the will of another can involve sacrifice and hardship.
In his other letters Paul shows us God sends his Spirit to help us if we ask.
Thankfully the Bible shows us who Jesus actually is.
Jesus is the Son of Man who knows what it is like to be human.
He laughed, wept, shared with many, had close friends, knew the bitterness of betrayal, suffered unfair trial and in a miscarriage of justice was sent to a cruel public death and still believed in love and forgiveness.
Jesus is also the Son of God, beloved of the Father, raised to life, and willing to share his prize of new lasting life with all who need it.
So I ask again, who is Jesus to you?