A few days ago, I had the privilege of playing golf with the guy who taught me how to play the game, Mike Jeffcoat. We’ve been friends since the mid 80s. He was a pitcher for the Texas Rangers and attended our church during Spring Training in Port Charlotte, FL. Not only is he the person who taught me how to play golf, but he’s also the person responsible for me becoming a runner. I’m thankful for his friendship and helping me to love golf and running — two things I hope to be able to do for many years ahead.
When I think about running several things are clear:
(1) Running is hard work.
(2) It’s hard to get started but easy to quit.
(3) It’s easy to rationalize not running. (Excuses are always abundant.)
(4) You’re always glad you ran, once you’ve run.
(5) The less you run, the more it hurts; the more you run, the less it hurts.
(6) Running makes you admire others who run.
(7) When you’re a runner, it’s easy for you to tell if other runners are dogging it or devoted to it.
(8) Running is easier when you focus on the next few steps.
(9) When you run at the same pace, in a balanced rhythm, you can run longer.
(10) No one else can run for you.
When I think about how God runs our lives and our world, things become even clearer:
(1) The Bible tells us the steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord (Psalm 37:23). That has some phenomenal implications for all of us. Proverbs 4:11-12 says, “I instruct you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths. When you walk, your steps will not be hampered; when you run, you will not stumble.”
(2) Hebrews 12:1 tells us that God is the One Who marks out our course and we all run better without entanglements. “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.”
(3) God doesn’t show us where we’ll end up or how far we have to go because we might get disillusioned, disoriented or discouraged. He just shows us the next few steps.
Years ago, while running on the beach one afternoon, when I started getting tired I’d look up at the high-rise condos and see how many more I had to run past before I would reach the end. Trust me, seeing how much farther I had to go sometimes became discouraging (and a little voice would say, “Who are you kidding? You can’t make it that far.”). So, in order to keep going and to finish, I just focused on the next few steps in front of me … and I made it. In fact, one night I ran right past the place where we were staying. It’s always rewarding to finish a run like that. You’re done before you knew you were supposed to be.
Won’t the Rapture be like that? (Just a thought.)
“Whether or not you take up running, you and I are in a race. It’s the race God has marked out for us and we’d better be running in such a way as to get the prize.”
(4) We’re not to run aimlessly, but purposely. 1 Corinthians 9:24-26 says, “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly.”
(5) If we run the way God wants us to, we will not grow weary. Isaiah 40:31, “But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”
There are a lot more parallels between running and living the Christian life than I have time or space for in this blog. Let me just say this: regardless of whether or not you take up running, you and I are in a race. It’s the race God has marked out for us and we’d better be running in such a way as to get the prize. It’ll take hard work, strict training, self-discipline, and lots of perseverance. But the blessings far outweigh the burdens.
Ecclesiastes 9:11 says, “The race is not to the swift ...” The Christian life is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. So, we need to do more than just run well this week or this month or this year. We need to be running well the rest of our lives. Whadaya’ say?
2 Samuel 18:23 says, “Come what may, I want to run … ” Let’s run energetically and enthusiastically and every day … let’s run in such a way as to get the prize!
Gotta’ run ...
© 2021. Barry L. Cameron
Barry Cameron is a devoted father and husband, bestselling author, dynamic communicator, and Senior Pastor of Crossroads Christian Church. Crossroads has a gorgeous, 150-acre campus in Grand Prairie, Texas. More than 8000 people call Crossroads their church home. Barry’s latest book, The Road to Financial Freedom, came out in the fall of 2020 and is available on Amazon. It’s another game changer for individuals and families who want to fix their finances once and for all.
Barry and his wife, Janis, have three children: Katie, Matt and Kelli. A daughter-in-law, Lindley and a son-in law, Johnny. They also have two grandsons, Will and Levi. Their family has been completely debt free since November 15, 2001.
Crossroads Christian Church has been debt free since November 9, 2008.