“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us”
Two years ago, I had the privilege of running a marathon. I learned several valuable lessons one beautiful October day which really brings new meaning to this verse for me.
The Test of Denial
Being that I had never run in an organized race before running a marathon, I was in for an education! (By the way, I would not suggest running a marathon as your first race:-) It would be unthinkable to travel in a race the same way you travel on a camping trip, bringing everything short of the kitchen sink. In a race everything is flung aside except for what is absolutely essential for the race. Before running, I had many ideas of what would be nice to have on the race, but when it came down to the time of starting, I left just about everything behind. Afterwards, I realized how much more I could have left behind that ended up being an extra weight for the journey. Oh, how important it is to fling aside weights early on in the race of life so we are not hindered in the race!
The word witness comes from the Greek word, martus which is used in Acts referring to Stephan who was willing to be a witness for Christ even to his death. Based upon the host of others (Such as those mentioned in Hebrews 11) who have testified of Christ even to their death, let us lay aside anything that would hinder us from fully sharing our love for God. We have such a short time on this earth. Realizing that life is made up of time and considering that when we give time to something we are giving our life for it, what do you lay down your life for? Are you willing to deny yourself of “good things” so you can achieve the best things which count for eternity?
The Test of Course
Before running, I carefully examined the options of which race would be best suited to my schedule, what the type of people would be running, and what the course would be like. I was aiming for the 26.2 miles to be completed in four hours. However, the race of life mentioned here is not one we choose, but rather one that is set before us–A course of God’s own choosing. This takes incredible faith as is mentioned in Hebrews 11.
Until running a marathon, I did not really have a good understanding of what it means to run with patience. To me it sounded like a contradictory statement. How can you run with patience? However, after realizing that the race in Hebrews 12:1 refers to a struggle till victory, I recognized that the race is a life-long course which would be far more difficult than a marathon because you do not know how long the course will be in the race of life.
As I approached mile-marker sixteen, it seemed like the bottom of my energy compartment dropped out. My legs ached. My chest tightened up. My tongue felt like a dusty sponge. I began to consider whether I could even make it. It took great patience to watch the miles slowly go by.
As I was running, I remember thinking back to the beginning of the race and the crowd of runners who pressed forward at the starting signal, the excitement, the throng. But now I really did not see many people at all. I wondered what happened to the rest of them. I began to feel alone. Finally, to get my mind off the pain I began to sing to myself as I ran or remind myself of my family who was waiting at the finish line to welcome me.
The Test of Time
Then almost as suddenly as the race had started, it was all over. I could not go back and get a better time. The race was over and time recorded, posted on the web, and not alterable. None of us know how long we have on earth. We only have the choice of how we spend what little time we do have, as someone once said, “Only one life, twill soon be past. Only what is done for Christ will last.” Will what what we do daily really last for eternity? That is the truest test of time.
5K Run for Life
A friend of mine is helping to host a race of life in Indianapolis. If I was not already committed on the day of the race for something else halfway across the country, I would definitely want to be there. Maybe some of you can be there in my place on October 27. Register Now!