Last Sunday, the City of Sydney was brought to a standstill as over 80000 runners competed in the now famous ‘City to Surf Fun Run’. I was talking with one competitor late that night and he said that by the time he started the race, the winner was already crossing the finish line! Such were the numbers in this 14km event. For many people this was just a run for fun. People were dressed in all sorts of costumes including gorilla suits! They took their time and clowned around enjoying the moment with their friends. But for the serious competitor there is much at stake. They train hard! They are determined to win! They are focused! They push themselves to the limit to get to that finish line first! It is hard work and requires much concentration, thinking and tactics. Not everyone wins but the serious athlete keeps on running until they reach the finish line regardless of what position they may finish.
Paul talks about running in a race in his letter to the Corinthian church. Paul uses the athlete as an analogy for the Christian in how they are to live their lives. The Christian is no spectator nor a race official. No, they are competitors! They compete in a race and Paul urges them to ‘keep on running’ trying to win this race! He is urging the Christian to keep running in faith and obedience so that they will make it to the finish line. This is what it takes to live a life that is glorifying to God here on planet earth. There is so much out there to distract us and to tempt us away from being competitors in this most important race. He strongly pleads with us to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus in faith and obedience so as to help us finish this race with glory.
I have said to you many times that we must learn from history. There is a common saying, “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it”. Paul takes his readers back to early Jewish history to push his point home in how God sustained the Jewish forefathers. He also reminds us that some of the Jews failed to learn the importance of walking on faith and obedience and they paid a very high price. Paul really warns us against ‘resting on our laurels’. It takes effort! It takes discipline! It takes courage to stand firm! This is why he teaches us to ‘keep on running’ and not taking time out to be sidetracked by the lure of worldly things! But if we do become sidetracked, we only need to call out to God and He will help us to get back on track and back into the race.