Run, with the medal already in your pocket
German Triathlete Sebastian Kienle 2012
What comes to mind when you look at a picture like this?
Now, when I show you this one?
I have had the privilege of meeting athletes that have accomplished great feats in their sporting life as well as athletes of faith and both have one distinct trait in common – Single-minded vision, focused endurance and absolute dedication to the call. Be it that it is a call for glory in this life, or to see the glory of Christ revealed in the lives of people.
We are all in a race of some sort, but as a wise man said one day – “They say we are in a rat race, thing is, the only ones winning, are the rats.” I don’t know about you but I do not want to be in that race! J
As an athlete and sports coach myself I have seen and experienced the sacrifices athletes have to make in order to get where they want to go, and it isn’t a fast and smooth road, no it is a long road often met with great adversity and a road one cannot travel without absolute surety and clarity of what one wants and where one is going, and on top of it, one will not last without perseverance and the endurance needed to work till it happens.
What makes an athlete work so hard and dedicated for so many years? For some it is the glory, for others it is to have their names remembered, for some it is just the desire for the experience of participating at something great like the Olympics, others do it to bring hope to the people of their struggling or oppressed nation. There are numerous reasons for doing what they do, and least is not the fact that they get to have that medal or that trophy. That is ultimately the sign of their success isn’t it?
But to us, in this walk of faith the apostle Paul writes to encourage us in
1 Cor. 9:24 – 26 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. 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. Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one beating the air.
Here is the best news ever……..You already have the medal in your pocket! You don’t still have to run to get a reward, or a prize, you already have it!
Jesus already purchased or won that medal for all of us not just to persevere through the pain and overcome temptation in the garden of Gethsemane to be nailed to the cross, but also to rise from the dead, preach for 40 more days and then ascend into heaven and take His seat at the right hand of God.
So, look at this:
What comes to mind now?
I see my name and the title of the race I’m running engraved on these medals. In fact, I see a medal for each of the races I am running. One for this race called “home schooling”; one for “graduating your children into this world” and one for “our own house”.
This puts a whole new perspective on things, doesn’t it?
Suddenly I don’t feel so defeated anymore. Suddenly I breathe a little deeper. Suddenly I remember all God’s promises toward me and us as a family.
One such promise comes from Zecharia 4:6 – 10 This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel (Celeste): Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit, Says the Lord of hosts. Who are you O great mountain? Before Celeste you shall become a plain! And she shall bring forth the capstone with shouts of “Grace, grace to it!” More over the word of the Lord came to me saying: The hands of Celeste have laid the foundation of this temple (children) Her hands shall also finish it. The you will know that the Lord of hosts has sent Me to you. For who has despised the day of small things?
So when days or weeks or a month of days or weeks or month passes, like the one I’ve recently had and all you want to do is kick it in and send my angels back to school so I can “free” myself from this “burden” of raising four little people I asked for. And hubby, after he received a phone call from an exasperated wife who’s words, in an even very controlled tone (cause if she breaks she doesn’t know if she can contain the water that wants to spill through the dam wall) that she is sending her brood back to school and home education is now officially a thing of the past, and a new and bigger home is no longer on the list of “I trust God for”. He decides to drop what he is doing, leave the office and come straight home to find his wife sitting in the room staring out into the storm ridden trees outside and the rain slashing against the window, gently sits down next to her, wraps his arms around her and says, “I love you very much. You are doing a good job with our children. You feel like it’s all for nothing because you have taken up the job of teaching and raising our children yourself every day, and you get it harder than moms who send their children to school because we all know, even though it is not right, that children, especially ones taken out of school, seem to pay more attention to and seem to have more respect for a teacher in a school class room than for their mom. And they push the boundaries all the time. But I love you and you are doing well.”
Then he goes down stairs, lines up the four and calmly and gently with authority (like only a dad can manage) asks questions and listens to answers and reasons, and then with the wisdom from God gives a solution, a wise direction and instruction. Embraces each child individually and says he loves them and then goes back to work.
Then…..then the faithful Holy Spirit just reminds us again of the words Jesus has spoken to us and we remember, “Hey, I can’t fail, ‘cause I already have the medal around my neck!” I must just keep my eyes on the finish line, like a race horse with its “blinker” on so it can’t see the others in the race nor get distracted by useless activities or get frightened off by sudden movement.
1 John 5:4 – 5 For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world – your faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?
So, I have to continue believing that Jesus called us to raise our children successfully by His grace. I need to believe His mercy is fresh and new every morning for the needs for that day. I have to believe He gave us the tools with which to complete this job. And then above all else my absolute favorite scripture in the entire Word, Isaiah 26:12 Lord, You will establish peace for us, For You have also done all our works for us (in us).
WOW! What an awesome scripture! All we have to do is continue to walk by faith and not by sight. Some days will be more storm than sun shine, you might even have to write off an entire year or two even. But remember Jesus has your back. As long as we acknowledge Him in all our ways and we do not lean and trust on our own understanding, than He will continue to direct our path in the way everlasting. Shure we’ll face a few battles, sure we’ll have to weather a few storms, but as long as we do not go it alone, as long as we are grafted into a body of believers and we walk with Jesus daily in everything we do, we will be O.K. and we will have good success, even if we can’t see it right now.
So be encouraged, you have already won! In closing I leave us all with this:
Hebrews 12:1 – 3 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and every sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls (minds).
Jesus has already authorized the faith we need to complete whatever task we have before us and have success, be it home schooling, just raising our children, having them in school and preparing all morning to receive them home and be all they need us to be, be it hoping and trusting for a home of our own. Whatever it is, He has already authorized the faith for us to do and complete it successfully, so let us come boldly into the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy and receive grace in our time of need.
God bless you.Grace and peace be unto you, in Jesus name, Amen.
(c) Celste Glass