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The Marathon

I am not much of a runner.  I have tried many times in the past to become one, but I am not one.  I don’t know if it is my attention span or out-of-shapeness, but I just can’t stick with it very long.  All I can think about while I am running is the fact that I do not want to be running.  My one and only goal during a run is to not be running when it is over.  I think that mindset has a lot to do with why I am not much of a runner.

Unfortunately, that mindset is not confined to running and exercise.  I sometimes view parts of life that way.  Sometimes my job is that way…all I think about is not working.  Sometimes my homelife is that way…all I can think about is the chores being done so I don’t have to do them.  Sometimes I view parenting that way…all I can think about with parts of our newborn’s life at present (crying and constant diaper changes) is the time when that will be over.  Sometimes I even view my relationship with God that way…I think about being done with reading the Bible while reading it…not praying while praying…or lunch during worship at church.

As I sit here now, I have three days left with my students at school until the end of the year.  I can’t help but thinking about when this year will be over.  I am not concentrated on the time I have left with them.  All I can see is how hard this year has been and how ready I am for it to be done.

Not that doing something with the end in sight is necessarily wrong, but what am I missing when I live this way?  What joy in the moments could I be missing?

I know that it is cliche, but life is a marathon and not a sprint.  When I live only thinking about when something is over I am trying to sprint 26 miles.  I am not a runner, which has been established, so that will never work.  I can’t run that way…I would die.  I can’t live that way either.  God does not intend that.  When we view life this way, we are taking control back from God and we are missing what he is using in the here and now to grow us and give himself glory.  Everything is God’s…even every little moment that we live and breathe.  God intends to use them to grow us, others, and show who he is.

The Bible is full of examples of times God has given promises but waits to fulfill them.  People take matters in their own hands and try to make the promises happen now.  God had a reason for waiting.  People are impatient…and the consequences are usually dire and they are normally natural consequences for what was done or not done.

I live my life that way.  I miss the things that God want to use for me or use me through for other people.  As I start this third-to-last day with my students, I pray that I view every moment as an opportunity for God.  I pray that my focus is on him and that this allows the moments to change me and change others through me.  It is a big goal, but God is a big God.

I know it is only loosely connected to what I posted, but I leave you with Hebrews 12:1-4:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.  We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.  Because of the joyawaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.  Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people;then you won’t become weary and give up.  After all, you have not yet given your lives in your struggle against sin.

We are running the race of life.  It is a marathon.  We have a stadium full of those who have gone before us that have made it through.  If we keep our eyes on Jesus, who lived every moment for his Father, we can also see every moment as God’s and live each one for him.

Father, Jesus, Spirit, you want me to view every moment as an opportunity for you.  Please help me live my life slowly today.  Please help me to not waste the moments with my students and family this week.  Please help me to seek your glory in all that I do and say.  Please slow me down.  I love you.  Please help me to try.  your son, joe

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