Sunday, August 21, 2005

To the races...

There's been a lot of talk lately at my church about "running the race." We've delved into the who's and the how's about running the race-- this Christian race, but one of those doubts from my younger years keeps rearing its ugly head again.

It's one of those why questions.

Hebrews 12 says, Therefore, since you are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw of everything that hinders us and all the sins that so easily entangles us, and let us run with perseverance the race marked down before by Jesus Christ the author and perfecter of our faith.

Why did he describe it as a race? If there's enough salvation for us all, why is it mentioned as a competition?

Too often we read this passage and we do just what I do. Focus on the word "race." In reality, the focus should be on a different word-- one we don't always like-- perserverance.

There's nothing good about the word. It's hard to spell. It doesn't even roll off the tongue very well, and it brings up bad images. We don't want to just perservere. We want the good times. We want to roll with life. When our feet are swift, the race is supposed to be an easy one-- that's why the runner runs. Nobody wants to run a tough race.

Sometimes the race is tough. Sometimes, we get slowed down by the weights we're carrying. Did you know that runners try to make themselves as light as possible? Most running shoes today weigh just fractions of pounds because getting rid of as much baggage as possible can make the difference between crossing the finish line the winner or just crossing it period. Paul tells us to take heed from runners and throw off those weights-- those sins-- to make ourselves all that more lighter.

In this race, its not about crossing the finish line first. It's about getting to the prize, and all who find Christ gets there. The race isn't always smooth, but God promises us that when we perservere, it'll be worth it in the end.

Barb Huff

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