BLOG (2/8/17): THE ORIGINAL SPORTS FAN
“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” (Hebrews 12:1, NLT).
The writer of the book of Hebrews compares our lives to a race. In many of his letters, Paul also compares our lives to running a race. Were these two writers sports fans, that they so often used a RACE as a metaphor for LIFE? Let’s think about it…
Paul preached for years outside of Israel in a world deeply entrenched in Greco-Roman culture. The Greeks brought us the Olympic Games and originated the Marathon race from their history of warfare. The Romans built stadiums dedicated to contests of human strength and endurance.
People in Galatia, Ephesus, Philippi, Colossae, Thessalonica, and Corinth… all these people lived within a culture that celebrated human achievement. So, when the writer of Hebrews and Paul referred to LIFE as a RACE, this struck a chord with their audience. It immediately made sense to them. They could identify with it.
Here’s their take on the Bible verse above, “So, you’re saying that when all those guys run around the stadium track, that’s us running out our lives. And you’re also saying that having SIN in our lives is like running with an anvil around our necks. OK. We got that. So, finally, you’re telling us that if we get rid of the anvil, then we’ll be able to STAY IN THE RACE all the way to the finish line. Is that about it?”
Yes, that’s about it. The point is, we often to rush toward a short-term gain with little thought of the long-term benefits or consequences. We want the Glory NOW! We want the Reward NOW! But like the tortoise and the hare, “slow and steady wins the race.”
God knows the struggles we go through. He knows our paths are littered with enticements and temptations as well as potholes and hurdles. And He also knows that the only way that we can make it to the finish line without burning out is by TRUSTING IN JESUS.
Jesus said in Matthew 11:28-30 (NLT), “28 ‘Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.’”
When Jesus lightens the load of our struggles and our sins, then we can cast off the weight that holds us back, so that we can, indeed, ENDURE the race for the long haul, and FINISH WELL!
This Sunday we’re going to learn how to make the RIGHT NEXT MOVE by racing for the long-term benefit and not just the short-term gain. We love you all and we’ll see you this Sunday!