1 Corinthians 9:24-27 (GW)
Don’t you realize that everyone who runs in a race runs to win, but only one runner gets the prize? Run like them, so that you can win. Everyone who enters an athletic contest goes into strict training. They do it to win a temporary crown, but we do it to win one that will be permanent. So I run—but not without a clear goal ahead of me. So I box—but not as if I were just shadow boxing. Rather, I toughen my body with punches and make it my slave so that I will not be disqualified after I have spread the Good News to others.
During the 1990’s in an NCAA Division II national championship cross-country race in California, a bizarre twist of events took place. Mike Delcavo and 127 of the best runners in the country were battling for glory over the 10,000 meter course. About three miles into the race, Delvaco was somewhere in the middle of the pack, when he realized that the runners had made a wrong turn. So he yelled out, “You’re going the wrong way,” but they didn’t listen. Only 4 others followed Mike when he turned in the right direction…and suddenly, he found himself in the lead.
However that lasted only about a mile, since Mike and the runners who followed him soon reunited with the larger pack who, having gone the wrong way, actually shaved about a half a mile off the course, and were now in the lead again. The last blow came when, because so many of the runners had gone the wrong way, the officials changed the official course route to accommodate their error. So when Mike Delcavo finally crossed the finish line, he was number 103 overall.
At the end of the race, some of Delcavo’s competitors “thought it was funny that he went the right way.”
You see many will mock you when you ‘play by the rules’ but play by the rules anyway because that is a true test of character. When everyone around you seems to be going in an entirely different way it is very hard to swim against the tide of public opinion. Standing your ground and acting on what you believe in takes a strength of character I am afraid few have. Even those who officiate and referee the laws have a tendency to bend their own judgments to accommodate the majority even when they know the majority is wrong.
You have heard it many times from your children or from your friends and family, well everyone else is doing it. Just because many are (I am convinced that there are still those who refuse to follow the wrong paths) does not make it the right way to go or the right thing to do.
There is a way that seems right to a person, but eventually it ends in death. Proverbs 14:12 (GW)
Not to belabor a point but it is worth mentioning again. The firestorm that erupted over the comments Phil Robertson made in GQ when ask for his opinion on what he thought sin was offers an excellent object lesson on staying on the right course even when met with a huge crowd going in the wrong direction. To simplify what Phil Robertson was trying to say so that even the unlearned mind can comprehend the concept. Sin is knowing you are running the race in the wrong direction but refusing to turn around and go the right way. Just because you are followed by a large crowd does not make your wrong way the right way.
In our mixed-up world, when everybody is wrong, wrong by default becomes right. However, in the world to come there is only one Judge and He will not change the correct course regardless of how many or how few actually run it. His rewards will be based on our having stayed the true course.
It’s easy to follow the crowd. But it takes courage and conviction to follow wholeheartedly after God. Sometimes it can get lonely running your race, wondering where the crowd is going, and even whether you, yourself are on the right road. Remember these words when you find yourself among the minority and taking the road less travelled.
Matthew 7:13-14 (BBE)
Go in by the narrow door; for wide is the door and open is the way which goes to destruction, and great numbers go in by it. For narrow is the door and hard the road to life, and only a small number make discovery of it.
So as you plot your course for 2014, take a look at where you have been, take stock of which direction you have headed and if you find yourself running from God and not to Him, make a course correction and start running in the Right direction.
But those who are waiting for the Lord will have new strength; they will get wings like eagles: running, they will not be tired, and walking, they will have no weariness. Isaiah 40:31 (BBE)
Along for the journey
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