How will you finish life’s race?
I always remember my father to be a hard-working man. He rarely took time to relax in the traditional sense, claiming he was relaxing when he was fishing and gardening. My father knew his role in the family as provider… leader, of the house. I never heard my Dad speak about retirement… to him, a man’s role was that of provider, and there was always something to do. I suspect much of his work ethic came from being a survivor of being placed in an orphanage at a young age until he was 18 during the war when Mussolini and Hitler were coming into power. His mother had place each child in a different orphanage so that if one orphanage was bombed, the others would survive. A lot for a child to have to deal with, and yet, he persevered. And throughout his life, my Dad persevered through all adversity… there wasn’t anything that came against my Dad that he didn’t face head-on. I think I know now where I get my tenacity and drive from… realizing that this life is not just a single event, but rather a long-term process with many events along the way.
I enjoy hearing these kinds of stories… stories of perseverance when the going gets tough. They provide a tremendous source of inspiration to those who choose to hear the underlying challenges and struggles endured. The Bible speaks of a man who came to Jesus and said “I will follow you wherever you go.” Jesus’ reply is direct… that if the choice is made to follow Him, there will be difficulty and discouraging times. However, once you accept that precept, we’re called to move forward and not look back as we are reborn as a new creation; a creation that is called to higher things. Additionally, I believe that a change of mindset from a ‘sprint’ to a marathon attitude occurs. In a sprint, the runner runs fast for a short distance… speed is the critical factor. Whereas in a marathon, stamina and endurance are the key factors to survival. It was Paul who proclaimed that “I have kept the faith and I have finished the race. Therefore, there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.” (2 Timothy 4:7-8) Therefore, if we are to finish the race of life, it is of utmost importance for all of us who call ourselves Christ followers to persevere as we run our ‘marathon’.
Hebrews 12 begins with the connector term “Therefore”… meaning it is a follow-up to something before itself, namely, Hebrews 11, which articulates those who demonstrated faithfulness. Of those mentioned, Noah is identified. Researching Noah found that he labored for 120 years building the ark! That is AMAZING faith!! This example makes me embarrassed when I think back on all those times when I was impatient for an outcome that I was waiting for in blocks of hours, days, and even weeks!
And as with most running races, family and friends come out to support their runners. So, in your race of life, who are your supporters? You might consider that you have more support than you think! I believe that Noah, and so many who have passed before us, are cheering us on to keep going, just as family and friends cheer from the sidelines in this marathon race called life. Brothers and sisters… we need to give all we can give, to fight the good fight, to finish the race strong. We can do this, in part, by growing stronger in faith and following Jesus in all things. NEVER be satisfied with the status quo… seeking to be transformed by the power and image of Christ. And when that day comes, when we’re called home, may we hear our Savior’s sweet voice say to us “Well done, good and faithful servant… you have fought the good fight… you’ve finished the race well… now, enter into your rest.”
gstefanelli (Greg Stefanelli)