Mr. Jennings then shared the real secret to his ability to finish the race. He said that he had often heard about the effect of the encouragement of the crowd. Their cheers and shouts of support seemed to carry them like a wave to the end.
As he talked, a passage of Scripture came to my mind. I listened more closely. He said that at race time it was very cold, a chilly forty degrees. To keep warm as they waited for the beginning of the race, they wore warm clothes, such as a sweatsuit. But soon after the race began, as the body heats up, those clothes had to be gradually discarded. The idea was to wear clothes that were warm, but disposable.
The principle is true because life in general, and the Christian life in particular, is a race, a marathon. Endurance, not speed, is needed.
In the New Testament book of Hebrews there is a description of the Christian life as a race. It says, “Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us. . .” Like the clothes that keep us warm at the beginning of the race, which must soon be discarded, there are things in our lives that, while not bad in themselves, may keep us from reaching our goals. And like that crowd that cheers on the marathoners, urging them to finish the race, there are those in our lives, who are pulling for us, urging us on.
The application to your life may be different, but the general principle is the same. You are not alone. The daily grind may seem to get to you sometimes, but the race is not a sprint. The goal may be distant, and what is needed is endurance.
© 2003, John C. Fitts, III. All Rights Reserved. Reprinted from Grace Drops, Volume I (2003).