Run Your Race to Hear God Say “Well Done” — by Pastor Pam Sutherland

ONE OF MY FAVORITE SHOWS to watch in the summer is American Ninja Warriors. It is a contest of physical strength and endurance where competitors must race on a grueling obstacle course. What I like about this competition is the competitors are not professional athletes. Many of them would have been considered “nerds” in school. Some have overcome physical and emotional challenges in their lives. Many try and fail to complete the course but they keep their eye on the prize. They keep training to become better. Those who learn from and follow in the footsteps of the ones who have run the race before, run well. They seem to do so with ease, their bodies adapting to each obstacle almost effortlessly. I imagine myself running the course, having the ability to jump, swing, and balance as these athletes do. Often I catch myself rocking from side to side in my chair as if I am helping them gain the momentum needed to fly from one obstacle to the next. I wish I could be like them. That’s pretty comical for someone who failed gym class in high school and has never done anything athletic in her life!

I am in awe of people whose bodies can move and respond seemingly effortlessly, quickly, and confidently. I have to remind myself that it took effort, discipline, practice, perseverance on their part to get to that place. It didn’t happen simply by wishing for it.

The Apostle Paul and the writer of the book of Hebrews in the Bible, compare the Christian life to a race saying:

There are those who seem to run the race with ease, following Jesus effortlessly, confidently trusting, persevering through trials, quickly responding to needs, never wavering in their faith. I am in awe of them as well and have to remind myself that it takes effort, discipline, practice, and perseverance to get to that place. It won’t happen just by wishing for it.

Just as the athletes on American Ninja Warriors must do their best to build up their bodies for the challenge of the Ninja course, so must we do our best to build up our spiritual bodies for the challenge of running our race in life. We run well by looking to Jesus, learning from Him, and following His footsteps.

Am I doing my best? I’m working on it. What about you?

Grace and peace,

Pastor Pam

NOTE: Pastor Pam’s charges include Fort Gibson United Methodist Church in Castlewood, Virginia and St. Paul United Methodist Church in St. Paul, Virginia.

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