Zero Strength To Finish?

Posted: July 26, 2022 in Uncategorized

A young man in his early twenties was invited to be a part of a fundraiser to bless children with cancer. The fundraiser asked businesses to sponsor a runner to finish a marathon race and their donation would provide for the kid’s family to help with any expenses. This young man was in great shape and was excited to accept the invitation to help. He was an athlete in college and not only did he think he could finish the race but knew he could win it. He began with a crowd of witnesses and dozens of other runners at the starting line.

“Bang!” The gun went off and so did this young man from the starting line like a gazelle. What began as a cluster of runners, shortly became him in front of the race alone. His pace and distance between him and everyone else began to show his superior strength and speed. After several hours of winding country roads, he entered a small country town where he began to hear the cheer of people. He knew he was getting close. “Just 15 minutes away at this pace”, he thought to himself.

While thinking deeply of the good that would occur from finishing this race, he was startled by some in the crowd yelling his name. It was friends from college he hadn’t seen in a long time. The young man looked back to see how far ahead he was from everyone else and thought, “I have plenty of time to jog over and talk to my friends and to still finish first”. These friends wanted to know about the race, as they all use to be athletes as well, and the young man was excited to share about it.

Each one of his friends were holding an ice-cold, health shake and convinced this young man who was feeling a little over heated that he needed to step inside to the country store behind them to purchase one. “It will cool you down and give you energy for the win!”, they said with his best interest in mind. “Let’s make it quick”, he said and walked inside to the cold air condition feeling better than he did all morning long. While inside at the counter to checkout, he sees a pair of western country boots. Not just any boots, the ones he had wanted since he was 14 but couldn’t find anywhere until now. “These boots are 75% off and the only ones left” the lady said at the check out counter.

“I can pick these up when I return from the race”, the young man thought to himself. She must have heard his thoughts because she said, “There is someone on their way now to get them but I told them the first person to pick up and pay with cash owns them.” Calculating in his head, the young man thinks he can finish the race with 2-3 pounds in one hand, no problem! It must be the Lord at 75% off. At this time, the first cluster of runners are coming along the country store road. “Perfect timing,” he thinks to himself, “Now I’m cooled down and have greater energy, I can sprint this last part of the race and still win.” He says his goodbyes, pays for the boots and drink and finds himself in the middle of the runners.

“Wow, these runners are slow paced because they are sticking together”, he thought to himself. Somehow, he still knew he could sprint the rest of the way and finish this race in first place. Within minutes he is in the lead again and can see the finish line in the horizon. The crowds have their phones out and he know’s this is his moment. All of a sudden his stomach makes a decision to rid itself of the “health shake” that he once thought was a good idea. He had split seconds to slow down and decide whether to throw up on himself or in the bag he was carrying. With the crowd’s phone’s videoing, he thought he would be discrete and fill the boots in the bag. Unfortunately, he defiled both his bag and his shirt. Slowing down to a small jog his leg muscles were now declaring a mutiny all at once. This once confident, speedy gazelle within seconds has become a shaking, weak, baby deer appearing to walk for the first time.

The first cluster of runners pass him as he is tremble-walking now just forty yards of the finish line. “Do you need help?”, the runners asked as they had been giving each other mental support the whole way. “Nope, I’m almost there, I’m good!”, he said. Except when the words left his mouth, his body rejected the lie and his walk became a crawl. That 2 pound bag became like 200 pounds. The second cluster of runners see him struggling and offer to carry his bag, “Nope, I’m almost there, you really don’t want to hold this bag”. He thought to himself he had been zero help encouraging anyone in this race, why should he ask for help now?

The final cluster of runners pass and an older man who once was in last place stops for the young man who once held the lead. The young man is now laying on the ground 20 yards from the finish line. The older man grabs the bag to carry himself and tells the young man to grab his arm to be carried. “Please, you don’t want to carry me or this bag”. The older man says, “Swallow your pride, this race is bigger than the both of us, let’s finish together.”. The young man finished the race that day with the help of an older man in last place. He learned some important things:

  1. Don’t be distracted by what other athletes are doing that are not in the race.
  2. The prize of finishing was the same for first or last place, help other racers finish the race as well.
  3. Whatever baggage weight we desire is not worth leaving the race for.

As Christians, you are in a race on earth. Not against other believers but together to grow in His likeness. Jesus can give you strength to help someone across the finish line. He is the one who invited you to the race to begin with and if you are open to it, He will send people to help when you fall. Don’t make up your own rules in this race by trying to do it alone. He never intended it to be a one person race against time.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

Hebrews 12:1-2

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