Paul Harvey’s voice and delivery were exceptional, not to mention the mandatory ending to his daily broadcast. I take monthly license with these articles by utilizing his familiar format; a personal experience followed by a weaving tale until we get to “the end of the story.” And today will be more of the same.
Run in the relay
There I was in the afternoon gym class prepared to give it all for the team. The coach had broken us into four groups of four for a relay race only available to the swiftest. We were running dead last as I received the baton from my exhausted teammate. As I took off after my prey, it seemed rather improbable that I could catch up, much less win… but I did. I never forgot that afternoon, for it provided me two prizes: one on the track and the other to my reputation as one of the fastest kids in high school.
Exhortations regarding the Christian marathon
Saul of Tarsus was a racing enthusiast and fully displayed it in his exhortations regarding the Christian marathon. He shared with Timothy to finish the race and to keep the faith. He inquired from the church in Galatia as to what had kept them from running the good race. He reminded the Corinthians that strict training was needed in order to race at the highest level, and that he pushed his body constantly in order not to disqualify himself from the prize. In the letter to the Hebrews, the writer exhorted the Jewish Christians to run the race with perseverance, given that they were surrounded by a great number of witnesses; certainly sounds like Apostle Paul advice.
As I turned “much older” last month, the idea of what race strategy to use during the last 100 yards of my life requires additional thought and prayer. The fact that I have gotten this far is surprising given my lack of spiritual training. For openers, God wants me to participate not just spectate the rest of the way. However, should I pace myself to gain time or sprint to a quick finish? How much gas do I have in the tank? Do the last being first apply here?
Aldous Huxley wrote a famous essay entitled “Ends and Means” about processes and results, which finds relevance in this discussion. For a good portion of my life, the mostly fleshly approach to living yielded very spotty results and feelings of frustration and guilt. I wanted to believe, much like Paul the Apostle, that despite wanting to do good, it was evil that triumphed in my life. But if the truth be told, the negative results occurred not despite my good intentions but rather because I chose evil once too many times. Could the reason be that stenciled on my running shirt was the word “me” instead of the word GOD?
My racing coach
A major goal for the final push should feature paying closer attention to vertical advice from The Lord in order to give horizontal stability to my roller coaster life. Heeding and following the advice of my racing coach, the Holy Spirit, will pay dividends in both stamina and approach for the task at hand. And as I share with my brothers and sisters at church and at Bible Studies, it is so rewarding to know that others are cheering me on. The world screams that “the end justifies the means”; yet it is only through His justification that I am afforded the righteousness to finish the course with the reward of eternal life in Heaven.
Running for the Lord is made easier since He promises to carry us to the finish line on his broad shoulders. And when we get there, He will be waiting for us, not with a banana and a bottle of water, but rather with open arms and a trophy that reads, “Well Done, Good and Faithful Servant.” I would love to turn back the clock and run the last 100 yards at the same breakneck speed of decades past, but I suspect that may not be the case; maybe the best I can hope for is to be “a tortoise for God.”
Hopefully, my final approach will mirror Paul’s when he declared in Acts 20:24, “I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given, the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.” …looking forward to the rest of the story!
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