On March 5, I had the opportunity to watch most of the 7,000 plus runners compete in the Little Rock Marathon. (I love running; I can sit and watch it all day…). It was exciting to see such an incredible diversity of people of all sizes, shapes, colors, and races push themselves to run a route that is 26.2 miles in length. And to hear the cheers of the bystanders cheering them on, the clamor at the refreshment stations, and the police stationed at every intersection on the route to guarantee their safety, it was quite a spectacle.
For many, it was an opportunity to express who they really are. I saw a ballerina, Disco Man (exotic outfit, frizzy wig, and bold T-shirt), an angel, a clown, and Spiderman. Elvis even showed up, proving once again that he continues to live on in the hearts of his fans. People also expressed themselves by the messages on their clothing, including “I Know I Can”, “Pray, Pray, Pray” and “Running for Life.”
They were running, jogging, loping, walking, strolling, trudging, and limping along, all with a common goal – to get to the finish line and celebrate.
But they have another thing in common – they are all image-bearers of our Lord, created to be alive at this moment in history, and called to join the Holy Spirit in carrying out The Great Co-Mission from Christ to reach out with the love and truth of Jesus Christ. Most choose not to take the call, as they are very busy with matters of the world, temptations of the flesh, and even the works of the devil. Another thing they (and we) have in common is that we are all headed to the ultimate finish line when our time is up on earth and we pass through the veil of death and into eternity – to enjoy with our Lord in heaven or suffer with Lucifer in the Lake of Fire.
What does it mean to run the race that is set before us? It starts with us preparing for the race – spending time with our Lord in the morning in His Word, reflecting on His calling upon our life, perhaps in a diary, and in prayer. It also entails putting on our spiritual armor, for we are ambassadors from the Kingdom of God to the Kingdom of Man, and “we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places”. (Ephesians 6:12) It is also important to spend time with fellow spiritual warriors who are encouragers.
The race that is set before us is a life in the Spirit:
* Fulfilling the vocation or job the Lord has for us (it might be as a full-time parent).
* If we are Spirit-led Christians, we are also in full-time ministry, in touch with the Holy Spirit, serving Him in the ways of His choosing, and showing up for the divine appointments He has for us, to share the love and Truth of Christ.
* Realizing that there are people all around us who are lost and don’t know our Lord. (If there aren’t, we need to get out of the Holy Huddle and interact with people in the world).
* In all likelihood, the person next to us in the line at the grocery store (or sitting next to us at church) is going through a struggle we know nothing about, and needs the comfort and peace that can only come from our Lord.
* When we see someone with long hair, tattoos, or nose rings, they are sending a message: NOTICE ME! Every generation does this.
Every person we meet has a story, is broken, and needs the Lord. So let us go forth with boldness to reach the lost, for time is short, tomorrow is not guaranteed, and eternity is a very, very, very long time.
To God be the glory