June 9, 2011
... and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us. Hebrews 12:1b
There is an old proverb which says, "The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."
I wonder if the great snipe, a bird which comes from the northern regions of Eastern Europe and Western Russia has a proverb which says, "The flight of 3,729 miles begins with a first flap."
Now if those two paragraphs sound a little strange, I understand. Let me help you understand, too. Recently Swedish researchers from Lund University tracked a trio of great snipes as they set a record-breaking, non-stop flight of 3,729 miles.
That's right. Those birds traveled over 3,700 miles and never set a foot on the ground.
If you like statistics, here's some: the birds stayed in the air for three days and averaged 43 miles per hour on their epic trip.
Somehow I doubt if the writer of Hebrews would be impressed. I say that because he wasn't worried about birds; he was worried about humans. That is why he encouraged, "let us run with endurance the race which is set before us."
He wanted his readers to know it was not how they began the race of their lives; it was how they finished that race. That was the important thing.
Truly most of us can recall those who have dropped out of the race. Remember the day of your confirmation? Remember when everyone in your class said they would be faithful unto death so they would receive the crown of life?
How many of them have dropped out of the race?
Some got tired. Some thought the race was too long, too hard, too demanding. Whatever their reason, they no longer are running the race.
I pray you will not be one of the dropouts. By God's grace may you be given the strength to keep running ... to keep running when the temptations grow large, when the frustration seems overwhelming, when the goal seems too far away.
Especially at such times may the Holy Spirit give you the faith to keep on going. May He help you stay close to the Savior who loves you, the Savior who gave His life to save you, the Savior who remains at your side.
Now that's a thought, isn't it? No matter how long or hard your race may be, Jesus is with you, matching you stride for stride. Jesus is there to lift you up, to speak words of encouragement, to help you to your ultimate goal.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, may I run the race before me with perseverance and persistence. May I stay by the Savior's side as I run the race which -- because of Jesus' sacrifice -- has saved my soul. In His Name I ask it. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries