Have you been watching the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea? Athletes from around the globe have prepared for a competition in their sport, each one desiring to finish well. Years of sacrifice and preparation have brought them to the Olympics to compete against the world's best. Even though every one of them would like to receive a gold medal, only one in each sport can do so. "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." (1 Corinthians 9:24) Ultimately, every athlete that has the privilege of competing in the Olympics wants to finish well in this pinnacle event. There is something about drawing toward the end of a journey, getting close to the finish line, that spurs you on to do your best.
Friday was the first day of Adar—the final month on the Hebrew calendar. During the cycle of months, it is God's intention that we grow further and further into our true identities and that we activate our gifts in order to use them fully. By the end of each year we should notice a change in ourselves—that we would be stronger and more fruitful. Indeed, this last month of the year, Adar, means strength.
Just like the athletes at Pyeongchang who want to finish well, we should desire to wrap up the year finishing well and ready to launch into the fullness of the next season. This is a time to prepare ourselves to receive and use the gifts God has given to us more fully. Adar leads us into the new year when we will continue to "run the race" with even greater evidence of God's fullness. May we be like the Apostle Paul who said, "But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 3:13-14)
Joan E. Mathias