The Crown of Life

Inspiration MinistriesBy Inspiration Ministries3 Minutes

“Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.”- James 1:12 NASB

“A wonder to behold.” This was how one of the world’s great chess players once described Paul Keres. Born in Estonia on this day in 1916, Keres contemplated a career in mathematics before turning to chess. When just twenty-one, he became his country’s chess champion, and he demonstrated not just amazing skills but consistency, ranking with the world leaders from 1936-1965, a remarkable length of time.

Another chess grandmaster described how his “originality, verve, and brilliance . . . astounded and delighted the chess world.” A Czech newspaper reported that he was “now the most admirable phenomenon. Within one-and-a-half years he has played such brilliant games of chess that most cannot do during their whole lives.”

Keres beat nine world champions during his career, including the biggest names, some of them several times. During his time, he was the most consistently successful player and won more international tournaments than any contemporary.

Yet something was missing: Keres never became world champion. In fact, he became known as the best chess player never to have been champion.

Many people are like Keres. Recognized in smaller ways, but never quite receiving the big rewards. The ultimate prizes. In the process, some become frustrated, and even feel like failures.

But the Bible reminds us that God has different standards. He reminds us that the only rewards that really matter are those that come from Him. That we should focus on serving Him, and making sure that He is pleased with our lives.

Today, do not worry about the rewards you receive from the world. Focus on serving God. Be faithful and look to Him for recognition. If you persevere, He will reward you with a crown of life.


Prayer: Father, help me to focus on completing the mission You have given me. I commit my time, talent, and treasure to You. Help me to be faithful in serving You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.