In this picture we are at the Staring Line of The China Grove Challenge 5K in China Grove North Carolina. This is one of my favorite 5K, it is run at 9pm at night and I love night runs for some reason. I guess because it is different and Outside the Box. On the right of the picture you can see me #244 (bald head), my nephew Dustin, his son Alex #32, and our son Kyle #31. We are lined up for the kids 1 mile fun run. I guess it is called the fun run because it is less painful than the 3 mile big person run!
I Corinthians 9: 24-27 (NIV)
24Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.25Everyone 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. 26Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. 27No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.
For our children’s sermon this morning, I brought my running bag. In this bag I keep all kinds of things that I might need before, during, and after a run. I went through the bag and pulled out several things to show the kids and explain how each of those tools relate to our Running the Race that God has set before each of us.
In the bag I have Clif Bars, these are protein bars that help to fuel the run as well as replenish you after the run. I relate this to feeding on the Word of God, The Bible. Jesus said “I am the bread of life”, we need His Word to get inside us so that we will have strength to run the Christian Race.
In the bag I have a bottle of water. Jesus said “If you are thirsty come to me and I will give you water that you never thirst again”. Jesus is the water of life. Without water we couldn’t live and without Jesus we cannot spiritually live.
In the bag I have Sport Beans. Sport beans are energy packed and help to give you that extra boost of energy, especially on those long runs. The Holy Spirit of God is who raised Jesus from the dead and the Bible says that same Holy Spirit lives in us. Wow, now there is some energy. Energy squared and multiplied…………..
I have a Garmin GPS device that tells me the time of day, speed I am running, distance I have run, my heart rate, the calories I have burned, and if I were to get lost the GPS will help me to get back on track. Again this is a reference to God’s Word. This is where we find the direction for our lives. This is where we learn to pray, Fast, love, ect… Without God’s Word to keep us on track we would be lost.
And then I have a hat in my bag.I am a member of a Running Club. The hat as well as a t-shirt I have come form where I joined the Running Club and the name of that club is on these items. But to tell the truth I am only a member in name. The truth is, I don’t do anything for or with the running club. I don’t go to the membership meetings, I don’t go to the group runs, I don’t go on any of their organized runs out-of-town, and I don’t participate in any of their training programs.
To be honest, it’s just not a priority. I have more important things in my life that call for my attention, time and talents. My church and service to God is an example of this. Many people join a church just like I joined the running club. They are members in name only. They attend sporadically if at all, they don’t support its ministries, they don’t participate in its ministries, they don’t give financially. To be honest, church is just not a priority for them, other things have their time, attention, talent, and resources.
The last item I had in the bag was a medal I received at the completion of the Arizona Marathon several years ago. When I crossed the finish line they placed this medal around my neck to say I had finished the course, I had run my race well.
Paul said he went into strict training for his Christian Race. How about us? Have we decided to be in a strict training program? Have we decided to be in a training program at all? When this Race of life is run, will we step across that finish line and hear, “well done, good and faithful servant”?
Will there be treasure there for us or is all our treasure here in this life?