1 Corinthians 9:24 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. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.
Crowns today hold little significance unless you are Miss America. But one day, the opportunity to receive a crown from our Savior will mean more to us than anything else we have ever experienced.
There are two Greek words found in the New Testament that are translated as crown.
And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; (diadems) and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. (Revelation 19:11-12 KJV)
Most of us are familiar with song – All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name. In this song we sing – “Bring forth the royal diadem, and crown Him Lord of all!” A diadem is a crown assigned to a king. Jesus is the King of kings and Lord of lords, and only He is worthy to wear a diadem in eternity.
The other biblical word translated as crown is ‘stephanos.’ A stephanos is the crown given to the one who is victorious.
In the days of the apostle Paul, the stephanos was normally made of leaves. The Romans sometimes declared such a victor to be a ‘god.’ However, such earthly glory lasted only for a season. At the next competition, a new champion was crowned and the former victor, along with his laurel of leaves, simply withered away.
How different it will be for the child of God who receives the victor’s crown in heaven. Paul tells us –
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. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown (stephanos) that will not last; but we do it to get a crown (stephanos) that will last forever. (1 Corinthians 9:24-25)
Some question whether or not our reward will be an actual crown or the words – “Well done thou good and faithful servant.” Either way, to have our Savior praise us for a life of faithful service will mean more than all the rest of heaven. I close with these words from an old song – “It will be worth it all when we see Jesus, life’s trials will seem so small when we see Christ; one glimpse of His dear face all sorrow will erase, so bravely run the race till we see Christ.” (Esther Kerr Rusthoi)