Run to Win

From the Playbook:

Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. 1 Corinthians 9:24

Coach’s Challenge:

“Only one team is going to win this. Run to win!” Vince Lombardi

The summer of ’67 was brutal for the Packers. None of the players knew how brutal the championship game against Dallas would be. But Coach Lombardi seemed to know. He demanded every ounce of their energy every day. “This is the big push. It starts now.” He said it every few days all season long.

The morning of the Ice Bowl, the championship game against Dallas, dawned at 13 degrees below zero. “No gloves!” barked Lombardi. The wind chill at the beginning of the game was minus 41 degrees. Bart Starr fumbled the ball on the first play. The ref blew the whistle, and the metal froze to his lip. He pulled it off, tearing his lip. The blood oozed and froze. No more whistles sounded; instead, the refs yelled “Stop!” at the end of each play.

By halftime, the field crusted over, which made the footing terrible. Dallas took the lead 17-14 in the fourth quarter, having sacked Bart Starr eight times. Jerry Kramer reminded the team of the July training camp, the exhausting time when they gave their all, when Lombardi instilled in them “run to win” and taught them pride, courage, and determination. This was the day for which that training prepared them.

Sixteen seconds remained on the clock. Third down with no time-outs on the one-yard line. Starr called a 31 Wedge. The center snapped the ball, and Kramer burst off the line. Remembering “run to win,” he pushed Jethro Pugh, Dallas front lineman, out of the way. Instead of giving the ball to Chuck Mercein, protocol for 31 Wedge, Starr kept it and executed one of the greatest quarterback sneaks of all time. The Packers won 21-17 and moved on to play in Super Bowl II.

Has your year been brutal? Have you wanted to quit? Has someone pounded you with demands to do more, give more? Has God called you to do something, to win a race in an area of your life? Does the call seem unrelenting, the work unending, the atmosphere so cold you feel you can’t perform?

Remember that whom God calls, He equips. His strength enables you to accomplish great works. He tells us, “all things are possible” (Mark 9:23), and “we are His workmanship” (Ephesians 2:10). Isaiah 40:29 tells us that He gives strength to the weak and increases the strength of those who have no might. The key is to wait on the Lord. Instead of hashing it out and venting with friends, let that happen with God. Grab that five minutes or 50 minutes alone with God. Take time to listen and be strengthened. Then go out and “run to win.”

Your Turn

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How can you run to win?

by Judy DeCharme

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Judy DuCharme became a Packer fanatic in 1984. Through her Cheesehead Devotional series, she uses Packer events to lead readers into God s presence. Sometimes humorous and sometimes serious, Judy shows us that walking with God is as fun as watching a Packer game. Learn more about Judy at

About Be the Light Editor

Martin Wiles is a minister, author, freelance editor, and English teacher who lives in Greenwood, SC. He is the founder of Love Lines from God and is the author of Grits & Grace and God and Grits, Gumbo and Going to Church. He serves as Managing Editor for Christian Devotions ( and Assistant Editor for Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. He and his wife are parents of two and grandparents of three.