What's the point of a contest? WIN! You usually don't enter a contest merely to try to win. You enter to be the one who gets top prize!
But what about a marathon? Sure, there are a number of racers who really believe they can be first. And they train for years to achieve that goal. But what about the rest? What's the point of running in a marathon? FINISH! You run, even though you're more than positive you won't be anywhere near the topmost racers, but that's not the point! You run to say that you finished. You ran the full 26.2 miles and you crossed the "finish line." Note, they don't call it "The First Place Winner Line." Only ONE can get that recognition. But the rest of the runners at least get the chance to say, "Hey, I ran the whole marathon! And I crossed the FINISH LINE!"
I have admired some great Christian preachers and teachers over the years. I won't mention his name, but one man I remember saying, "I don't want to die and go to heaven until I've finished everything that God has called me to do!" He wasn't seeking recognition for doing his ministry, but he wanted to know that when he passed into Glory he had completed the work he was supposed to do. He ran to cross the "finish line."
I admire Paul who said in 2 Timothy 4:7, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race..." He had said earlier in Acts 20:24, "...so that I may finish my race with joy..." And that's a great point: not just finish, but finish with joy!
What's your goal in living your Christian life? Are you just a spectator? Just watching "the game" and see how those other Christians are doing? Are you at least a participant? If so, are you hoping to cross the "finish line." Or are you just a participant with no goal in mind? I hope that's not true.
A dedicated Christian yearns to know that when they finish, they did what God wanted. The kept the faith, they fought a good fight, and they finished, and not just finish, but they finished with joy!