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. – Hebrews 12:1
“In the movie Chariots of Fire, Olympian runner Eric Liddell was quoted as saying, God made me fast and when I run, I feel His pleasure.’
When I entered into the eighth grade, I played football and also ran track. While I did enjoy playing football, it hardly compared to the thrill and enjoyment I received when I ran in each race at each track meet. I ran the 440 yard relay, the mile relay and the 330 yard hurdles. I absolutely loved running the relay races where we had four guys who each carried the baton in hand anticipating the smooth hand-off to our next team mate. There was just something about those races that shot my adrenaline levels sky high and the thrill of competing against other teams that I do understand what Eric Liddell was quoted as saying. Although at the time, I failed to realize that it was truly God that had given me the talent to run fast.
My coach was Mr. Ed Smith. On the field and at the track meet, there was no doubt that he was there to win and that you had better put out your absolute very best or you would hear about it the next day on the field in the way of extra sprints or an extra thirty minutes of workout. Coach Ed Smith was one of the finest men that I had ever met though. He was tough but he was fair. I remember at one particular track meet, I just didn’t feel like running one of my 330 yard hurdle races. I wasn’t hurting, not sick, no excuses…I just didn’t feel like running that day. Well, when they began calling for the race and the school teams to make their way to the starting blocks, I was attempting to hide out on our team’s school bus. The second call came, and then the third and final call and just when I thought that I was home free, who do I see enter the bus but none other that Coach Ed Smith! He shouted, “Tarjick”! I said “yes sir?”….”Why aren’t you on the track getting ready to run the hurdles?”….. I said, “Coach, I just don’t feel like running today”….He asked, “Are you sick?…Hurting?”…To which I replied, “No sir”….and he told me in his own way, “Son, you have about one minute to get out on that track and do what you came here to do and that is to represent your team and school”. Needless to say, I did exactly what Coach told me to do and I’m glad he did because even though I didn’t win, I did end up placing in the event and winning a ribbon. I just needed Coach Ed Smith’s “words of influence” if you will!
Much like me, I believe there are many believers in the Body of Christ that have chosen to set out the race that is set out before them. They have many reasons why. “Someone hurt me in the church many years ago”…”Everyone in the church is so hypocritical”…”I work all the time and just don’t have time like I used to”…”I believe God is mad at me”….the list goes on and on of the many reasons people give and have for falling out of the race that they once were so passionate about. Hebrews 12:1 reads, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,”
Do you see that? The writer of Hebrews tells us that we have to “lay aside every weight and sin” which clings to us which ultimately ties us down that we tire and lose our energy, determination and strength to continue the race. Also, we have such a great crowd of witnesses that have gone before us that are waiting at the finish line rooting and cheering us on! Loved ones in the faith, great heroes of the Word and ultimately our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ beckoning us to c’mon…get up….pick up that baton….you can do it! He’s also given us His Holy Spirit to give us all we need to finish the race that is set before us.
So c’mon Child of God! What are you waiting for? This is the only race that has ever been run or will ever be run that we must finish. The time is right now, today…so stay strong…don’t give up…your prize awaits you at the finish line!
Written in memory of Mr. Ed “Coach” Smith