Tuesday 11/25/2014 4:42 AM
In horse racing, the first three finishers are awarded the positions of Win, Place, and Show. Those who wager on the race receive a payout for those positions. The other horses running the race, that do not finish in the top three, are given the moniker, Also Ran.
Today my assigned reading included the last verses of Hebrews 11 and the opening verses of chapter 12. Chapter 11 ends with a description of some of the heroes of faith who performed mighty deeds and others who were jeered at, sawn in two, beaten, tortured, flogged, imprisoned, etc. Chapter 12 begins by referencing those witnesses and then gives this encouragement, “Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. … Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” (Emphasis added)
In this life it seems that everyone has a different road to travel. Some seem to lead a life of faith where everything goes their way. They accomplish great things for God and they see the results of their efforts. Others seem to be confronted by evil at every turn. Their efforts seem to be ineffective and their lives are characterized by persecution and trouble. God commends both types of people.
I have a tendency to want to have the first type of life, one characterized by a vibrant faith proving its validity with great signs, notoriety, and fanfare. I want to win, place, or show. So when I go through a dry spell in which I do not hear clear direction from God and when there are no great leaps of faith required, I tend to think I’m on the wrong path. Today the word of Hebrews 12 remind me to run the race that has been set out for me with perseverance.
I want to run the races of others, to hear the accolades that come with breaking the tape at the finish line, of being the best, or nearly so. I need to follow the example of Christ, who ran the race set before him, which included the shame of the cross, and to not lose heart. I place great value on those who win, place, or show. God’s power is made perfect in weakness. He can make great use of an also ran.