FINISH THE RACE
THEREFORE THEN, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses [who have borne testimony to the Truth], let us strip off and throw aside every encumbrance (unnecessary weight) and that sin which so readily (deftly and cleverly) clings to and entangles us, and let us run with patient endurance and steady and active persistence the appointed course of the race that is set before us,
I ride by bicycle on the Mississippi River Levee for exercise many mornings. It is a time of reflection and enjoyment as I find myself lost in God’s beauty all around me. One of the perks to these morning bike rides are the people you meet up on the levee. One of the most interesting friends that I have met is a cyclist by the name of Mark. At first glance he might seem like many other road bike enthusiasts, you know those guys, the ones with the fancy bikes and the lycra tights. But Mark is different, Mark is in his eighties and rides about eight hours a day on his bike. He also rides across America, from Washington to Maine on his bike every year. Recently I ran into Mark and he began to tell me “I didn’t make it this year ‘Rev’. I only made it to South Dakota, halfway, about 2000 miles, I hurt my back and had to be flown home”. The amazing thing about this story is that his injury was only a few weeks ago and Mark was already back on his bike!!! He said he had to cut back on his training (he was only doing thirty two miles this morning). You see this is more than a bike ride for Mark, this is his life. He lives for the moments, along the road, where he gets to chat with strangers, inevitably the story turns to Jesus, eternity, and the power of prayer, (that’s what we talked about this morning).
You see Mark has discovered that there is another race, not just the obvious “rat race”, that is calling for our involvement. It would be easy for him to take it easy, forget about the bike, after all he is in his eighties. There is always a reason, and some pretty good ones to stay out of the “kingdom race”. You know the drill, “I have to spend quality time with my children”, or better, “I will get involved later, now is just not a good time”. Or how about this one, “I used to be involved, I’m just not into organized church, you know, they are just in it for the money”, (have you figured out who “they” is?) Maybe it is time for you to bag all of the excuses and just get into the race. You never know who you might meet on your journey. Maybe you will run into another “Mark” and maybe, just maybe you will meet some new friends that just need to hear your story, you know the one, the one that talks about eternity, the power of prayer, and God’s love for the world seen in the gift of His only Son. Before long, our race will be over and we will be in the stands of eternity, finish your race strong.