The first thing I learned is if you choose the "lay back" option you might find yourself in a very uncomfortable and embarrassing position. About midway through the race I was feeling good. I hadn't expended too much energy and was very comfortable physically. I looked behind me to assess my position. There was not one soul behind me. I was dead last. I was comfortable but losing the race.
The second thing I learned is that it is painful, uncomfortable and a struggle to get back in the race. That day I began passing people one by one. My goal was broken into little sub-goals of just getting past that next person. Each one was a struggle and painful, but I told myself I wasn't going to be last and I wasn't going to give up. At the finish line I was trying to catch two people who were my next "goal" to pass. I didn't quite catch them. I finished in 3rd place, my best finish in a countywide race ever.
Today this memory came to mind for two reasons. The first is personal to Abbeville United Methodist Church. I am thankful for our "team" of many people who are willing to assess our place in the race and honestly set goals that will grow us spiritually, missionally and influentially. Our 2020 Vision Team is working toward this and many of those receiving this blog will be asked to jump into the race and run. I pray we will run with passion ans purpose, keeping our eyes on Jesus.
The second reason this memory entered my mind is the passage that was a favorite of Rheta Blalock, a faithful servant of Jesus Christ who has completed her race. The Message has a great take on 2 Timothy 4:7-9a ... "I’ve run hard right to the finish, believed all the way. All that’s left now is the shouting—God’s applause! Depend on it, he’s an honest judge. He’ll do right not only by me, but by everyone eager for his coming.
Get here as fast as you can." Rheta was eager to run the race with passion. Eager to live live fully in the process of life's difficulties. She was eager for the completion of God's plan and we, as fellow runners, have had the honor of sharing life, love, music and mission with Rheta and all of our fellow runners. May we all be eager to get to the finish and get there as fast as we can, passing the obstacles one by one and rejoicing at the shouting as we get closer to the finish line! Randy