Welcome to day 20 of 21 Days of Prayer
We have started 2018 with vigor and a distinct determination to accomplish the goals and plans that God has given. To do that, we must be true to the end.
There is a story of a 61 year old potato farmer in Australia who joined the 543 mile Ultra-Marathon from Sydney to Melbourne. When he signed up, the coordinators and on-lookers laughed. Some thought he was too old and even suggested that someone should stop him because he might hurt himself trying to run. To give you an idea of how long the ultra-marathon is, the participants would run 18 hours and stop and sleep for six hours and repeat this for 5 days in order to finish the race!
As you can see, there is a lot of opportunity to quit. Just like you will face many painful and uncertain moments, shouting to the back of your thinking, give it up, it's nice to strive but you can't do it. Well, this 61 year old potato farmer didn't quit. In fact, out of 150 runners, he not only won the race but he crossed the finish line 9 hours and 56 minutes sooner than the nearest person behind him!
And so can you!
But that's not all of the story. This farmer's name is Cliff Young, the person who professional distance runners coined his running style the "Young Shuffle". You see, when he started the race, part of the laughter was because he wore galoshes and shuffled rather than running like the other runners who, in the beginning, took off and left him behind. Very much like the Christian who walks by faith and not by sight ~ I Peter 2:9 says,
"But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light..."
As it turns out, that peculiar shuffle (the Christian life style) was energy efficient and aerodynamically appropriate for long distance running.
One other thing. No one told Cliff that he should stop every 18 hours and rest for six. He just kept plugging out mile after mile, pushing forward day and night for five days. It doesn't sound possible does it? But, he did it and so can you! Don't listen to the nay-sayers, just listen to the voice of God. Be encouraged to press forward until you cross the finish line. Or in this case, reach your goal.
You must know yourself and what you're made of. Not only are you chosen, royal and part of a holy nation, Psalm 139:14 says you are "fearfully and wonderfully made". That was Cliff's secret. He grew up on a farm and was responsible for herding up 2000 sheep on a 2000 acre farm. He had to do this in galoshes over his work boots while wearing overalls. There were times when he had to run with those sheep for two or three days in order to complete the round up. So the next time you feel like complaining about how hard it is to stay true to the end, remember Cliff. He was not a sprinter, running quick sets on a track but his background, training and experience made him the most efficient marathon runner ever!
Dear Lord, today I recognize that reaching my goals is not a sprint. It is a marathon. A distance that I must prepare my heart and mind to finish.
I pray for the strength and peace of mind, to endure time and trials that test my faith. Like Cliff, I will fulfill Hebrews 12:1-3 by running the race with patience and keeping my eyes on Jesus.
I will not listen to what others say nor will I adopt what others think.
Instead, when quitting tries to enter my circle of peace, I will meditate on your Word, Ecclesiastes 9:11, which says, "The race is not given to the swift nor to the strong, but to those who endure to the end."
That is my motto! I will endure and stay true to the end. In the name of Jesus, Amen!
~Inspiring hope and seasoning faith, Pastor Sean