For the past 3 years I have read Kent Hughes book Disciplines of a Godly Man once per year. It has been a very helpful book, and serves as a yearly reminder and challenge that the call of a godly man requires discipline and hard work.
This morning I read the chapter entitled "Discipline of Perseverance", and I wanted to share with you a paragraph that encouraged me. Hughes focuses on Hebrews 12:1-2 where the author of Hebrews calls us to "lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us..."
"We each have a specific race mapped out for us; the course for each runner is unique. Its uniqueness is determined by God, who charts it factoring in who you and I are right now as to our giftedness, background, responsibilities, age, health - and most of all who we are in Christ. Your race is like no one else's...But the glory is, each of us (no exceptions!) can finish the race 'marked out for us.' I may not be able to run your course, and you may find mine impossible, but I can finish my race and you yours. Both of us can finish well if we choose and if we rely on Him who is our strength and our guide."And then he gives an example of a runner running his particular race:
Perseverance has nothing to do with giftedness, but everything do with your heart. In 1981 Bill Broadhurst entered the Pepsi Challenge 10,000 meter-race in Omaha, Nebraska. Surgery ten years earlier for an aneurysm in the brain had left him paralyzed on his left side. But on that misty July morning, he stood with 1,200 lithe men and women at the starting line. The gun sounded, and the crowd surged ahead. Bill threw his stiff left leg forward and pivoted on it as his foot hit the ground. His slow plop-plop-plop rhythm seemed to mock him as the pack raced into the distance. Sweat rolled down his face, and pain pierced his ankle, but he kept going. Some of the runners completed the race in about thirty minutes, but two hours and twenty-nine minutes later Bill reached the finish line.May we all be faithful plodders as we run the race set before us. Not the race for our neighbors. The race for us. By God's grace, we will all one day cross that finish line. And just as Bill Broadhurst, we will receive the medal, not for the race we ran, but for the one the best runner ran.
A man approached from a small group of remaining bystanders. Though exhausted, Bill recognized him from pictures in the newspaper. It was Bill Rodgers, the famous marathon runner, who then draped his newly won medal around Bill's neck. Bill Broadhurst's finish was as glorious as that of the world's greatest though he finished last because he ran with perseverance. Biblical perseverance that refuses to be deflected, overcomes obstacles and delays, and is not stopped by discouragment within nor opposition without is available to us all.....The race is not for sprinters who flame out after 100 or 200 or 400 meters. It is for the faithful plodders - people like you and me. Fast or slow, strong or weak, we must all persevere. (R. Kent Hughes Disciplines of a Godly Man pp 160-161)
Hebrews 12:2 "Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God."