I used to run in several 5K races and then I took a break; now I run in my neighborhood, on my own, at my own pace. I have become accustomed to the terrain and my routine. I still run 3 miles most days, but I don’t worry about my pace and therefore I just enjoy my time in nature, with God, thanking Him for all His good graces, while I process and contemplate upon whatever Scripture or people God put on my heart that morning.
Recently, a notice for a race I participated in several times throughout the years, came into my inbox. It captured my attention more than usual and I begin to think about it the next morning as I was running. That is when it struck me, life can be compared to running. We can get too comfortable in our own routine, running alone in our neighborhood, not encountering others. When we enter a race, we may have bigger hills to climb and rougher terrain, and there will be people and distractions along the way. These are the times we rely on the Holy Spirit even more, knowing He will help us.
It’s not about how fast we go or even if we win, its about how many lives we impact along the way and how much we glorify God in the process by sharing the Good News with them, even when it puts us out of our comfort zone. If we surround ourselves with like minded people, going the same direction, with the same end goal, keeping Jesus at the center of everything we do, the journey will seem easier and the tasks more rewarding. We can encounter others with truth and grace, for the joy it brings.
I realize when God gives us opportunities to share the gospel with others, it is not just an opportunity for us; but it is also an opportunity for the other person, to hear and accept Jesus so they too can be saved and share the good news. If we do not listen to the prompting and miss the opportunity, we are also robbing another person of the opportunity to hear how they can be saved. It is like carrying a torch for the team. We pass it on to the next person and it keeps going. We cannot let the flame go out or the race end, until God Himself brings it to an end.
I recently attended a meeting at church where a former drug addict and convict gave his testimony. It was very enlightening. He looked out at the room full of people and said he had never heard about Jesus or had anyone even invited him to church; that is until one man listened to the prompting of the Holy Spirit to go and tell others. He visited the prison where the man was, and after hearing the gospel for the first time, he accepted Jesus, and God began using him inside the prison walls to carry the torch to others. We are not meant to go it alone or to stay in the comfort of our own terrain, we are meant to go and tell and live, in community, on a mission for Jesus; so that others will have the opportunity to choose His saving grace too.
Do you remember when you first realized your need for a Savior or the first time you heard the Good News, that Jesus came to cover all our sins because we are not capable of saving ourselves? May we be found carrying the torch to light the way for others when our Savior returns.
“let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfector 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, ESV).
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7, ESV).