Paul’s one aim was to gain men. He uses the words repeatedly. To gain one more for his Lord, he would forego comfort, emolument, and well-earned repose. He would allow no competitor for an earthly prize to supersede himself in his sacrifices for this crown of rejoicing. He points to the denials, the hard training, and the severe discipline to which men who took part in the games subjected themselves. No one thought it strange that they should sacrifice so much for the chance of winning; why, then, should he be counted eccentric, who sought the certain reward of gaining new lovers of his Master’s cross?
He tells us that he lived in constant dread of becoming a castaway. He had no fear of being rejected from God’s love; but he feared lest God, who had used him so wonderfully, should cease to do so, and should cast him aside in favor of someone more unselfish, more pliant, more free from that which would excite prejudice. If Paul was so eager to surrender his rights and bruise his body that he might attain the prize of soul-winning, the question arises whether for our failure in these respects God may not be obliged to cast us on the rubbish-heap!