When our youngest son, Seth, was a little boy we made a great discovery. He was very fast. I mean, extremely fast, and he could run forever, it seemed. He would line up in the track events for his elementary school and beat all the other kids by at least 10 yards in every race. I mean fast. I always wanted to encourage him, so I would say a prayer with him at the starting line and then run to the finish line to wait for him. When he would cross the tape he would continue sideways to the fence around the track and come up and hug me and I would say, “Great race! You are awesome!” He would smile and go back and get his blue ribbon, and then we would go out for Dairy Queen. I loved watching him run.
We went to one particular race in the third grade and there were kids there from other schools ready to beat one boy — Seth. This race was for 2 miles and he took off and went over the hill ahead of everyone. We had done the prerace prayer and then went to the finish line to wait for Seth. As the kids came up over the other hill we noticed something strange…no Seth. The first ten runners came in and Seth was not with them. Just when we thought something was majorly wrong, here he came. He was running and passing kids like they were standing still and came in18th place. We ran to him and told him, “Great race!” and noticed he was crying. In the middle of the race, out of the sight of the judges and the parents, there was a place where the kids would double back and pass each other. At that point, two boys tripped Seth, sending him down the hillside, and as others ran by, Seth fell back to last. Injured and hurting he got back up and started running as hard as he could and went from 85th to 18th. The other boys who tripped him finished first and second — we could only imagine what would have happened if he had not been tripped.
That was not the point. The point was, he raced. He competed for the prize and even though he had a pitfall or two, he finished as strong as he could. He didn’t give up. I learned a lot about my son, myself, and of course, my Lord that day. We may stumble and we may fall, but don’t give up! Keep on racing. Keep on running. Remember what 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 says…
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others,I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.
Some day when we finish the race of this life we will all cross the finish line and run into the arms of our Father and He will say, “Great Race! You are Awesome!” Let’s get ready for that day by running the race He has set before us with all the passion we can. If you fall, God will say, “Get back up, son, get back up, daughter, and keep running.” David Warren Worship Pastor