Some folks, when asked if they would like to run a 5K, respond with comments suggesting they would rather do anything but. And yet, how many of these same folks are running in what we often refer to as the “rat race?”
According to Wikipedia, the “rat race” is “an endless, self-defeating, or pointless pursuit. The phrase equates humans to rats attempting to earn a reward such as cheese, to no avail. It may also refer to a competitive struggle to get ahead financially or routinely. The term is commonly associated with an exhausting, repetitive lifestyle that leaves no time for relaxation or enjoyment.”
Even pastors are often subject to the latter part of that description. While our pursuit of sharing the love of Christ and the good news of the Gospel is hardly a pointless pursuit, we, too, can get caught up in a rat race of pastoral duties, and a struggle to keep our worship services and sermons vital and engaging.
Thankfully, we have the Holy Spirit to give us the strength, endurance, and inspiration to do so, for if we tried to do it on our own we would fail miserably.
However, we are not called to run after cheese, or earthly rewards. God asks each of us to “run with endurance the race God has set before us” (Hebrews 12:1).
This applies to all our Lord has called us to do in our individual ministries. And don’t say you don’t have a ministry.
If you are a Christian, God has something for you to do to minister to His people and to reach the lost. You have a gift that needs to be shared. You have a calling. If you don’t know what it is, ask God! He would be very happy to guide you to it. And the Holy Spirit will give you the strength, endurance and inspiration you need, too.
So back to running a 5K. Mazon United Methodist Church recently held its eighth annual 5K race. (Check it out at www.facebook.com/groups/MazonUMC5K.)
Every year we open with prayer. We encourage every runner and walker, no matter how fast – or slow – to finish the race. When they cross that finish line, we give them a wristband that says, “I Did It!”
Trophies and medals are awarded to those who did especially well, just like the race our Lord calls us to and encourages us along the way. When we who love the Lord cross that final finish line, we will be received with a “well done, good and faithful servant,” and crowns will be given to those who have served faithfully.
As the apostle Paul told the church in Corinth, “Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly.” (1 Corinthians 9:25-26a)
I believe that holding a 5K teaches that principle, uniting Christians in the quest for both physical and spiritual discipline. It is healthy for mind, body and spirit.
If you missed the Mazon UMC 5K on June 2, or if you ran it and would love to do another, I encourage you to register for Braceville UMC’s 5K on July 21. The course goes through beautiful Mazonia-Braidwood State Fish and Wildlife area.
We have a Facebook group page, www.facebook.com/groups/bracevilleumc5k, where you can find more information. You can register online at www.active.com/braceville-il/running/distance-running-races/braceville-umc-5k-2018.
When you are handed your “I Did It!” wristband, you can say along with Paul, “I have finished the race”
(1 Timothy 4:7).
Don’t think you can do it? Just keep repeating Isaiah 40:11, “But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.”
See you on July 21!