God is preparing you and I for the most competitive and grueling challenge of our lives: to push so hard for the faith that we will eventually be overcome by our effort. My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day.
In High school decades ago I ran track. I wasn’t a track star by any stretch of the imagination. I really wasn’t very fast and from an endurance standpoint I was somewhat limited. But, I ran track. I was a miler, something that required some degree of swiftness, but for the most part a whole lot of timing and endurance. There were several other milers on our track team that were at a level above me. They could normally finish a mile a full 10 to 15 seconds faster than me. I remember a particular race when for whatever reason I was keeping up with the pack much closer than my normal 10 to 15 second handicap. I was right on the heels of one of our fastest runners, Russ Fisher. He was fleet and I was used to following but never leading him on the oval. I sensed a whole new level of energy being that close to the lead. As we approached the end of the fourth and final lap I lost my gait, however, and fell way back. Russ finished and won the race. I finished 10 seconds back and collapsed in the infield. Russ walked over to me an offered me a hand up. “You ran a great race. I finished with my best time because you were on my heels. Thanks!”
I was broken, completely poured out after that race. I finished a distant 3rd or 4th. Russ got the acclaim and the win; I received nothing but a hand up. He gained at the end and I lost. I had done my job making our best miler look even better.
Here’s a thought from Richard Baxter: “It is lamentable indeed, knowing that
God has set mankind in such a race where heaven or hell is their certain end, that they should sit down and loiter, or run after the childish toys of the world, forgetting the prize they should run for. Were it but possible for one of us to see this business as the all-seeing God does, and see what most men and women in the world are interested in and what they are doing every day, it would be the saddest sight imaginable. Oh, how we should marvel at their madness and lament their self-delusion! If God had never told them what they were sent into the world to do, or what was before them in another world, then there would have been some excuse. But it is His sealed word, and they profess to believe it.” (Richard Baxter.)
Russ was meant to win that race and my job, ultimately, was to make sure he did it in his best time. Russ was a talented runner: I was at best so-so. He was competitive and I was less so. My brokenness led to his healing as a runner. I was poured out by my effort and he was filled up by his win. On the surface that might seem unfair, but it’s God’s purpose for all of us, that each of us might be broken and poured out so that others might be filled. Let none of live in the delusion that life is or was ever meant to be fair. Eternal life will be a breeze, but life on this earth isn’t. There is nothing fair about being a Christian. Today and tomorrow God is preparing you and I for the most competitive and grueling challenge of our lives: to push so hard for the faith that we will eventually be overcome by our effort. We are overcome so that others might leap for joy in the knowledge that they have seized victory in Christ Jesus by our efforts. In that respect we are spiritual food for others; bread broken to be eaten–wine poured out to be tasted. This is my purpose and your’s as well. We may not win many of life’s races, but we have secured the better prize. Because of our brokenness, others have crossed the finish line by our efforts. God will restore us in heaven, the only finish line that really matters.
We pray. Thank you Lord for the opportunities to help others gain salvation in Christ through out willingness to sacrifice, to be broken and poured out in Christ. Forgive us Father when we whine about getting a raw deal or we weary of so often losing out on material things in this life when others seem to have the advantage. Help us Lord to remember that our purpose in life is to be broken and poured out for others for Christ’s sake. In Jesus name we pray. Amen!
Therefore my friend, Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry for itself; each day has enough trouble of its own. This Passing Day. (Matt 6:34)
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