The 2015 Go! St. Louis Marathon was held a little over a month ago on April 12. The first woman to cross the finish line and claim victory was Kendall Schler. But the victory celebration was short-lived. After investigation, race officials stripped her of the title because it was discovered that she didn’t actually run the race. All runners wear a magnetic time-tracking strip that records beginning and finish times as well as time markers for 5 other reference points along the race course. This provides proof that each runner has followed the course. Schler had removed her magnetic strip. Apparently she had slipped on to the course after the final checkpoint and shortly before the finish line in her effort to deceive race officials into believing she had won. Andrea Karl, who initially placed second, was eventually crowned the true winner of the race.
The Bible describes living as a disciple of Jesus Christ as running a race. The writer of Hebrews encourages readers to run the race that is set before them (Hebrews 12:1). In context, the “race” referred to would be a life of faith lived for God (cf. 11). It is a race that requires endurance and ridding our lives of anything that slows us down or prevents us from advancing. As an example of One who ran such a race, the writer points to Jesus Himself (12:2) and encourages discouraged runners to think of Him when they are being tempted to give up (12:3).
Beginning and finishing the race as a follower of Jesus are both vitally important. We can’t win if we don’t start and we can’t win if we don’t finish. But we must also run between the starting line and the finish line. And it's those “in between” miles in the marathon of life that often prove to be the most difficult. The temptation is to cheat or skip the checkpoints. Don’t do it! We are called to “run the race that is set before us.” Let’s keep running!
God loves you!