Sunday, July 30, 2017

Sometimes you win...sometimes you just run

I also saw other things in this life that were not fair. The fastest runner does not always win the race; the strongest soldier does not always win the battle; wise people don’t always get the food; smart people don’t always get the wealth; educated people don’t always get the praise they deserve. When the time comes, bad things can happen to anyone! (Ecclesiastes 9:11 ERV)

It is probably more common than you may think that people want to "win" - they believe life has to be "fair" or "equitable" in some form. While this isn't exactly a "wrong" ideal, it is not founded in reality at all! I am not sure why "sportsmanship" had to be taught with the philosophy of not keeping score or not declaring any one team a winner - such as in a young person's game of T-Ball. Everyone getting a trophy or medallion for "participating" is fine, but in truth, there are always going to be winners and losers in this lifetime. Sometimes we need to recognize the "winning" isn't in that we crossed the finish line first - but in the fact we kept running ever-increasingly longer or harder races until we one day recognized we actually "won" the race!


Little "races" add up to bigger ones when we don't give up on the running. If a person wants to run a marathon, he or she doesn't stop at running around the block six times this week. In fact, next week they may add another block or even two. Why? Endurance increases the more we run the small "races". We don't win the race because we set out on it at an all-out run - we win it because we run a consistently paced one! The same is true in warfare - we don't win the battle in one big effort - we win it with the smaller, well executed ones until these all mount up to the "big one". A couple of things we need to remember as we start each new day:


1. You ARE starting a new day. Each new day is just that - a place to START. We might think we are defeated because we didn't accomplish everything as we planned to the day prior, but with each new day there is this chance to run the next leg of the race - to add to that which has come before, or choose to run a totally new one if that one didn't work out so well for you.


2. You AREN'T committed to the race just because you are declared the winner. You are committed to the race because you are running it! Those on the sidelines are observing you - they aren't committed to running the race - you are! Don't let anyone make you feel less than perfect, or "less than" in anyway simply because you don't cross the finish line each time you set out to run. It is the small progress you make added to the next time you make small progress that eventually gets you the prize!


3. You DON'T have to always run. Sometimes it is okay to walk. Pace yourself in this pursuit toward godliness. It isn't an all-out sprint to the finish line. It is made up of some days of crawling and other days of sprinting - with variations of that "pace" everywhere in between.


4. You DO want to get up and do it again. There is no limit to what you can accomplish in God's grace. There isn't anything magic in winning - it is hard work and it sometimes requires what we don't seem to have. We will find all we need in God's grace - but we have to embrace it and lean into it in order for it to fuel us for what lies ahead. Just sayin!