“You should do the marathon with us! I haven’t had anyone not finish, we can help with the money, you should do it!” And that was a tempting idea…until I thought about 26 miles and was tired on the treadmill after two. The glory would be amazing, but there is a reason that not everyone completes a marathon, or even starts walking!
My dad always said that life is like a marathon, especially the Christian life. The glory at the end is incredible, but the path to getting there is hard! But isn’t that what makes it worth it?
This reminded me of Paul in 1 Corinthians 9 telling the believers to not take their eyes off the finish line,
“24 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. 25 And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown.26 Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. 27 But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.”
The Message Bible says 1 Corinthians 9:27 like this:
“I don’t know about you, but I’m running hard for the finish line. I’m giving it everything I’ve got. No sloppy living for me! I’m staying alert and in top condition. I’m not going to get caught napping, telling everyone else all about it and then missing out myself” (MSG).
Do I live life like a cruise or a marathon? On a cruise you stroll up to breakfast, find snacks in your room, grab a slice of pizza on the way, and come back to plan a detox diet. There is nothing wrong with enjoying life, but if I want to live on a cruise all year, I am in trouble!
Paul is talking about the way he works to reach people from many backgrounds with the Gospel. It took effort! Just like the marathon that is on my bucket list – it will take a lot of time and effort to get into shape for that. And the prize has to be good, or I will turn back halfway. The bragging rights are nice for now, but not enough for a changed lifestyle. How does heaven become a reality that gives me incentive every day? I’m still working on that one, but I suspect that the training comes one day at a time like any other race.
God, thank You for the imagery of marathons. It is an accomplishment that people respect because it takes real effort. God, please help me to train to serve You each day in how I live and interact. God, please help the finish line to be a reality. To Your glory, Amen.