"Running the Race"
July 28, 2013
Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the Founder and Perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-3
On a July morning in 1981 Bill Broadhurst was in Omaha, Nebraska. Broadhurst had committed himself to taking part in the Pepsi Challenge, a 10,000-meter run.
To be honest, Broadhurst didn't look like he belonged with the 1,200 other runners. That's because he was running with what some might consider to be a handicap. Ten years earlier, surgery on a brain aneurysm had left him with a paralyzed left side. Since that surgery, his commitment to recovery had brought about some physical improvement. Still, no one thought he would ever win the race or even be in contention.
Broadhurst lined up with the other runners. It was the last time he would be with them. When the starting gun went off, the others runners made a brief, two-step detour around him. Broadhurst also began to run, but not with the steady and confident stride of the others. His gate consisted in him throwing his stiff leg forward and then pivoting on it as his good, right foot hit the ground.
The pack of runners soon disappeared down the open road.
His commitment and exertion soon covered Broadhurst with sweat. Pain which began in his ankle shot up his leg. Even so, he kept on going. It took him two hours and 29 minutes to cover the six miles. As Broadhurst approached the finish line, he was surprised to see a small crowd seemed to be waiting for him.
From that crowd stepped a man. Broadhurst recognized the fellow from the newspaper photographs, which had been publicizing the run. The fellow who greeted him was the world-famous marathoner Bill Rodgers, the winner of the day's race. As he came forward, Mr. Rodgers took the medal he had won and put it around Broadhurst's neck. As he did, he said, "Here, you've worked harder for this than I have."
I guess that story is a pretty good explanation of the Christian life. There are some of us who seem to have numerous blessings and a relatively easy life; there are others whose days seem to be filled with continuous pain and a never-ending struggle.
To all of us the Lord says, "Keep your eye on the goal and, with endurance, run the race which is before you." Then, as inspiration for our struggle, He reminds us of the commitment made by the Christ. In Jesus' desire to save us, He endured hatred, beatings, plots, murder attempts, and the cross. He was called names, laughed and sneered at, and lied about. In spite of all that, Jesus kept His eye on the goal that would mean His death and bring about our salvation.
Now I don't know how your race is going right now. If you are like most of us, there have been good times and bad moments. Quite likely there have been times when you felt like giving up and dropping out.
At such times, I pray you will look to Jesus. Most certainly, look at the example of His life here, but also look at your finish line. Whether your life be long or short, hard or easy, you can be sure He will be waiting there with words of welcome and congratulations.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord the world is dedicated to dragging me down and making me give up. Especially in the really discouraging times, may I look to Jesus who makes it possible for me to cross the finish line. Then, inspired and saved by Him, may I run the race set before me. In His Name I ask it. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries