Friday, June 4, 2010

The Race

by Kathy Lay

This Week’s Verse: Hebrews 12:1, “Such a large crowd of witnesses is all around us! So we must get rid of everything that slows us down, especially the sin that just won't let go. And we must be determined to run the race that is ahead of us.”(CEV)

On a hot, sunny morning last week, I headed off to “Track Day” to watch my kids participate in the annual end-of-school-year tradition. I never expected to be moved to tears by catching a glimpse of heaven while I was there.

You see, there was one little girl who couldn’t quite run. She could walk briskly though, and her enthusiasm was clear from the moment she took her place on the starting line. The other four girls in her heat also lined up wearing remarkable smiles that I noticed, but didn’t attach any particular meaning to—yet.

Even before “On your mark…Get set…” a chant began to swell up around me by the student spectators. “Au-tumn…Au-tumn…AU-TUMN” was repeated with growing volume as the race began.

“Go!” And they were off. Autumn and her competitors left the gate as a single unit, barreling down the track as a power-walking unified force. Autumn led the pack and the others shared happy sideways glances as they allowed her to set the pace. The crowd continued in its relentless encouragement for the duration of the event and as Autumn crossed the finish line just a neck ahead of the other girls, it exploded with cheers of Woo hoo and Way to go! Victory was written on every face because of the triumph of one girl finishing the race marked out for her.

And there I sat stunned, tears streaming down my face, at what I’d just witnessed. (Thank goodness for sunglasses.) What a wonderful reminder of how we are to cheer one another towards the mark we all aspire to reach—a tangible, present-day example of the promise in this week’s verse! We have a heavenly crowd of spectators—all the saints who have gone before—cheering us on in our race from heaven's bleachers.

And because of that promise, we can pass on encouragement and walk with others here on this side of the ultimate finish line.

Father, what a blessing to see the powerful example of grace and encouragement through the kids at that race! Help us adults to copy it. Open our eyes to see those you’ve placed around us to influence and support by the power of Your Holy Spirit. In Jesus’ Name.

Can you think of people that might need you to walk along beside them to help them stay in the race? Who would be encouraged by your cheering and encouragement to finish it well?

Power Verses:
Romans 15:5, “May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus.”(NIV)
1 Thessalonians 5:11, “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”(NIV)
Acts 20:24, “However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace.(NIV)

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