Finishing Well (Part 1)
This devotional was written by Leslie Snyder
You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth?—Galatians 5:7
April 14, 1912 is remembered in history as the day the unsinkable ship sank. The Titanic was on its maiden voyage and under the orders of Captain Edward John Smith. On the evening of the tragedy, Captain Smith attended a dinner party given in his honor. He excused himself early and went to the bridge, having received numerous ice warnings over the weekend. After talking with the crew, he gave orders to alert him immediately with weather concerns and retired to bed.
About 11.40 p.m., Captain Smith was awakened by the collision and rushed to the bridge. After receiving the report of the accident, he then made a quick inspection of the ship. He immediately ordered the boats prepared, but wavered when it came to giving the order to load and lower them. He eventually gave the order, but surprisingly little is known about Smith's actions in the final two hours before the ship sank. His legendary skills of leadership seem to have left him. He was curiously indecisive and unusually cautious. He was last seen in the bridge area having given the final order to abandon ship.*
So often, as Christians, we start the race well. We run with great speed, agility, and endurance. We feel the air rushing around us, hear the crowd cheering, and sense the energy searing through our bodies. Life is good, our faith is growing stronger, and then suddenly, the road disappears or, like Captain Smith, we hit an iceberg. At first, we're not quite sure what happened and underestimate the damage. Soon confusion clouds our ability to make decisions, and the excitement of the race is replaced with the fear of never finishing.
Paul warns the church in Galatia and challenges them with the question, “Who cut in on you?” They were running a good race, staying faithful to the truth of the gospel, but something happened. Does this sound familiar to you? Where are you in the race today? Running headstrong? Losing pace? On the sidelines? Most coaches will agree that anyone can start a race, but what matters is who finishes the race.
Hebrews 12:1 brings this encouragement, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” Today, if you have left the race, may you be challenged to dust off your running shoes, grab your water, and start running.
1. Good running takes practice. What type of spiritual practice is a part of your daily routine?
2. How can you encourage another person today?
Acts 20:24; 1 Corinthians 9:24-27; 2 Timothy 4:7