January 30, 2008
Run the Race
by Meghan Kleppinger, Editor, Christianity.com
Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.
Hebrews 12:1, NAS
“…And finally,” the Vice-Principal announced over the intercom, “Meghan Kleppinger won the bronze medal for the 200-meter dash.”
Yes, I won the third place medal for my high school during a track meet the previous Saturday against the local German school. It was now Monday morning and I smiled sheepishly as my class cheered after hearing morning announcements. I was a student at an American international school in Athens, Greece, and we took every sporting event, which often looked like a mini-Olympics, very seriously.
So with this win, I was proud and the school was thrilled, but the truth is that my classmates and teachers only knew part of the story.
Here are some interesting and important facts leading up to my win.
1. Most of our team was out of country for a tournament so only a few of us were left to race at the German school.
2. I was a distance runner - not a sprinter - and had never even been to a track meet, much less run in one. I was a soccer player and had joined the track team to stay conditioned.
3. I didn’t have any special gear or the proper running cleats. I had a pair of regular Nikes that my father had picked up while back in the U.S. and they were brand new and a half a size too big… a deadly combination for any runner.
4. The first- and second-place winners, both from the German school, were at least twenty feet ahead of me as they crossed the finish line.
If you were to watch this sad scene unfold on video, which I have, you would hear my mother say, “Poor Meghan, she just isn’t a runner...” Which was quickly followed by my younger sister whispering, “Mom, I’m taping this.” I seriously looked like I was moving in slow motion.
5. …and finally, the rest of the story is that there were only three runners in the race to begin with.
Yes, the fact is that I won by default. While it was slightly embarrassing and extremely humorous, I was just happy to be wearing a medal around my neck.
If I hadn’t run, we wouldn’t have medaled and our overall score would have suffered. Our team needed a runner so I ran. My coach told me beforehand that all I needed to do was run and finish the race. He reminded me that regardless of place, I would win a medal.
I didn’t run the event that I was best at; instead, I ran the race set before me. I ran the event that needed a runner.
Likewise, we as Christians have been instructed to run the race God has set before us.
I love the way C.H. Spurgeon explained this verse in his Exposition on the Epistle to the Hebrews. He wrote, “Having therefore no room for doubt let us throw our whole strength into our high calling, and run with patience having our eyes always fixed upon Him, the beginner and finisher of our faith, who has run the race Himself and won the prize, and now sits down on the right hand of the throne of God.”
Jesus has already run the race and rewards those who follow in his footsteps to the finish. Winning isn’t the issue, for we have already been promised the prize. All we need to do is to get in and run the race to completion.
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith.” (2 Timothy 4:7)
Intersecting Faith & Life: You may not be the fastest runner, and that is okay because the race of faith set before us is one of endurance, not speed. Build up your strength through prayer, studying and meditating on God's Word.