I missed you last Sunday because I was in Chicago running the Chicago Marathon. The Chicago Marathon has 45,000+ runners from 150 countries and all 50 states. There were 1.2 million spectators along the 26.2 mile course. I’ve never been in a situation that had that much energy. It was electric!
Once you get past the overwhelming nature of that kind of crowd, you quickly discover there is something incredibly inspiring in surrounding yourself with tens of thousands of people who are all trying to achieve a similar goal. Some people were trying to run fast; some were trying to finish; some were trying to prove to themselves they could do it. For whatever reason someone might choose to run, we all had a common goal in mind: finishing.
I can’t help but think of how that race is just like my experience in following Jesus. I’ve been thinking about Hebrews 12:1-2,
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, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Specifically, here’s what’s been on my mind as I think about this marathon and following Jesus:
- We run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Following Jesus is not about quick fixes Rather, it’s about slowly moving forward one step at a time.
- We throw off everything that hinders. We should anticipate that following Jesus is going to be hard. It would be far easier to not follow Jesus.
- We are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses. The writer of Hebrews means this to be the saints who have gone before us. However, it’s also true with the people around us. Who we surround ourselves with directs the path that we go. I think about this race and how 45,000 people could have just gotten on their treadmills and ran for 26.2 miles by themselves in their basements. Instead, we joined together to do something hard because we achieve our goals when we are together. This is the value of the church and one another. We need each other.
if you find yourself discouraged or frustrated, be encouraged to lean forward and persevere.
if you find yourself distracted and hindered by things that slow you down, be strengthened to throw those distractions aside.
if you are isolated and lonely, lean into the church and surround yourself with others who want the same kind of thing as you.
I can’t wait to see you this Sunday as we continue on our Not For Me series.