The reward for winning the race

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 4, 2012

Some 40 years ago, when I didn’t know what I wanted and was killing myself to get it (that’s the definition of unhappiness), I was a heavy drinker. When I finally quit drinking, I looked for something to fill the void that alcohol satisfied.

I was introduced to horse racing and enjoyed the excitement of what is known as “the sport of kings.” I was never addicted to gambling, but the escape to the Fairgrounds Racetrack in New Orleans was exciting.

I’ll never forget the day a local gambler asked if I was going to the track. “Why?” I questioned. “I want to bet $2,000 on a horse named Broken Valley.”  

“He can’t lose,” he continued, with confidence. “The last time he raced he was in the lead until the homestretch, and seeing the crowd caused him to take a big turn, and he lost. Today, the owner is going to put blinders on him so he can’t see the people in the grandstand.”

I decided to go to the track with my friend’s $2,000 and bet $20 myself on a supposedly sure shot. Just as my friend had said, Broken Valley had blinders on to prevent him from seeing what was on the right or left and, hopefully focusing on what was straight ahead – the finish line!  

The race started, and the horse broke out of the gate fast and lead all the way, looking like a sure winner until he entered the homestretch and heard the noise of the crowd. He then broke stride, taking another wide turn and came in last.  

Again, the horse was focused on something other than the finish line. The first time was what he saw (the crowd), and that day was what he heard, again the crowd.

Since I became a Christian in 1980, Jesus has filled the void in my life. Over the years, I have seen many people’s lives changed after a born-again experience. The Bible says we are to run the race to the finish. Like Broken Valley, all start their Christian walk excited about sharing the Gospel with a lost world. The blinders have been taken off, and they see the light.

The first couple of years, they have enough faith to fight off the temptations of the world. The problem begins when they pay more attention to what the world has to offer. For some, the Christian walk seems boring compared to the temporary excitement that the world offers. They allow the people they see and the voices they hear to interfere with their journey toward eternity and lose focus on the finish, thereby forfeiting the crown they are promised by our loving Heavenly Father. (II Timothy, Chapter 4, Verses 7-8)

Thinking back on the horse race, by losing there was no reward but also no penalty.

In the game of life, we have a reward for winning the race, which is spending eternity in Heaven. The penalty for not completing the race is an eternity in Hell.

If you have any questions or comments, please write to Get High on Life, P.O. Drawer U, Reserve, LA 70084, call 985-652-8477, or email