“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.”
~I Corinthians 9:24
What prize are you running for?
Who is your role model?
Who is holding you accountable for how you run?
These were the questions posed by Dick Schultz at a recent Workforce Ministries luncheon. Dick coached baseball and basketball at the University of Iowa for many years, served as executive director of NCAA 1988-93 and executive director of the US Olympic Committee 1995-2000 including the very successful Park City Olympics.
As he looks back on the up and down moments of his career, he sees God’s hand and gets a glimpse of God’s perspective. He realizes that, at each step, God was just putting him on a platform to build to the next platform – the next thing God wanted him to do.
He recalls an interesting time in his coaching when he didn’t have this perspective. He was a Christian, but afraid to show it. Didn’t share his faith with his athletes. He felt like he was enclosed in a Christian shell and couldn’t get out. His fear of sharing his faith “wouldn’t let him get out.” But this changed when he went to an NCAA event where there was a Fellowship of Christian Athletes gathering. There were some young speakers; bold about sharing their faith. Great athletes. Great Christians. But the one that changed him was carried up to the podium and seated with pillows on each side to prevent his toppling over. He was paralyzed from the neck down. Two months after winning a gold medal in the Olympics, he was felled by the injury left him paralyzed. His testimony, “I am so grateful for my injury. Before it, I didn’t know Jesus Christ.”
This moment convicted Dick and he began to crack his way out of his shell.
Now, having “retired from” coaching and sports leadership Dick has “retired to” Christian business leadership and he’s still running as fast as he can. As part of a group of Christian CEOs and business leaders called CEO Forum, he flies monthly to China where Christian expression is exploding. He says this is what happens when you suppress something powerful for long enough. The Chinese, realizing they need not fear Christians are beginning to see them as a great asset and are welcoming them. The Christian witness is making huge strides.
But Dick is not naive. And he is not deceived. He sees the world as it is and thinks it’s likely that we are in God’s judgment or at the very least God is warning us. Dick sees the success in China as God’s message that “the world has had my people long enough. I am taking them back.”
Dick is setting an example. In all things he seeks to glorify God, with Christ as his example. Dick reminds us that we must get in the race and run as hard as we can. Because we are running for our lives.