This is Kate Stanford. I met her yesterday.
She'll compete in the Special Olympics Florida tomorrow in Orlando. Listen to this quote from the 34-year-old athlete about participating in the sporting competition:
“I hope they take away from it that it doesn’t matter how severe disability you have. All that matters is that you get out and participate.”
Wow. She is talking about sports but let's think of how applicable this is to us in the faith arena. We all want to "win" in life somehow but is that really the goal? No. Not for believers in Jesus. Our goal in life should be to honor God and bring glory to Him through the execution of HIS PLAN, not our own.
Read this passage from Hebrews 2:1-2 (NIV)
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us THROW OFF everything that HINDERS and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race MARKED OUT FOR US, 2 fixing our eyes on JESUS, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him, he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."
Nowhere in that passage, which is often labeled "The Race OF Faith", does it say we are striving to win OUR OWN race. We are striving to run the race MARKED OUT FOR US while FIXING OUR EYES ON JESUS. We all have disabilities. Verse one says to throw them off. We all need a coach. Verse two says only Jesus is perfectly qualified.
When we spend too much time worrying about how we are faring in personal races that lead to nowhere, we lose track of the fact that this life was never supposed to be about us. It is supposed to be about running the race set before us with Jesus as our guide. Like Kate says, it's about participating, because with Jesus as your leader, you HAVE ALREADY WON.
Help us not fail to participate for fear of finishing in any place than first. Our aim in life is to please you, Lord. And pursue you, Lord. Make that my aim in everything, not just to strive for recognition and accolades. May it be about PARTICIPATING in the race you have set before me.