Abel ran the race of sacrifice
Enoch ran the race of life
Noah ran the race of testimony
Moses ran the race of endurance
What is my race? Some family and friends would say it is to see how much of life I can cram into a small space of time.
I think my race is to put out – to share – what God has put in me
Writing is the one thing I most love, and reading and studying would be next but it is hard to say no to any opportunity that could glorify the Lord – whether I have time or not.
So as I look at my current situation I find I have to continue to practice – to say no. Yesterday I had four commitments stack up. As a people pleaser, I wanted to do them all. I could have possibly gotten them all done, but would barely have been present to fully engage. Knowing how I feel when I am with someone and they spend most of the time on the cell phone with someone else, I felt it was the honorable thing to do to cut back and postpone what I could.
I cannot, nor would I want to, get out of the race. I feel privileged and loved to have received the invitation to the race of the faith-life, but looking at those who have exemplified the race before me (Hebrews 12) I find they all had two things in common, the right focus for running the race, and the right faith for running. Even Jesus, it says, ran the race ‘for the joy that sat before Him’.
Sometimes running gets hard. The muscles cry out and the breathing is labored. Maybe I forgot – or refused – to take off a few things that are weighing on me and making the uphill climb harder than it has to be. If I watch someone else who seems to be running with little effort and try to imitate their success, I am in danger of missing the facts of their sin distraction (Moses had a temper, Noah got drunk, and yes, I have sin distractions too). So these are my goals:
Disciplined elimination: to remove my distractions and fix my eyes on Jesus. Partly this means praying over the list and choosing what I can truly do being fully present and then saying no to the rest. That ain’t easy for this toddler-mentality of enjoying every moment of every thing in every day!
Determined endurance: It would be so much easier to run to the first bend of a dozen races instead of completing one or two grueling battles. But, I could miss the joy of having the opportunity to win the only race that matters (influence others for Christ), by finishing.
My race, therefore, has to be to run consistently enough so that when I hand off the torch, it will still be burning.