Finish Your Race
The annual New York City Marathon that took place in 1975 seemed normal. Thousands of runners gathered from all over the U.S. and around the world. There were just a handful of real contenders to win the race. Most runners do it for the personal thrill of tackling the challenge and finishing the 26.2 mile course. The time came to start. All the runners went to the starting line. Everyone was pumped up and excited. At the starter’s gun, the mass of humanity began moving down the course.
Then something abnormal happened. Soon after the start some spectators noticed a woman go down into a subway station. They thought it was too bad that she had to drop out of the race and guessed that she had pulled a muscle or gotten sick and had to quit. They were quite surprised when they saw later that she ended up getting third place among the women in the race! Some of the spectators thought there was something fishy about that. They notified officials who started an investigation. The officials found out that the woman, Rosie Ruiz, had in fact dropped out. She found a place to stay for a couple of hours and then rejoined the race toward the end to finish third. She was caught and the fraud was exposed. Then she was caught doing the same thing in the Boston Marathon six months later!
Ms. Ruiz is an example of the way many people are in modern society. Many people want to achieve their success, fame, and fortune the easy way. For each one who has achieved significant accomplishment in any field of endeavor, perhaps one in ten thousand has been able to do it the easy way. Everyone else had to do it with hard work, determination, overcoming obstacles, and maintaining the commitment to achieve the goal they were after.
Many people want religion the easy way. They want it to be fun. They want it to be convenient. They want it on their own terms. As far as religion is concerned, you can have religion that way but you cannot have Christianity that way. Remember what Jesus says in Matthew 16:24-26, “Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?”
True Christian faith requires the commitment to believe God and seek to obey His will for our lives. It is as Paul says in 2 Timothy 4:7, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” Finish your race so you can achieve your goal of eternal salvation!