Therefore, since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us let us lay aside every hinderance and the sin that so easily ensnares us. Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us, keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:1-2).
A key to running a marathon is preparing the mind and heart to this simple truth: It ain’t over until it’s over. That sounds easy enough when one is just starting, or when you hit that “second wind” somewhere hopefully in the middle. But believe me, it is not that easily!
So many things hinder us. Sin ensnares us… Growing weary slows or stops us… The urge to run the race as an individual instead of as part of a team trips us up… Fixing our eyes on the wrong goal destroys the team as well as the individuals who make up the team.
In the marathon of the Christian life, the great danger is to think we’ve arrived when in fact we are just beginning. As the Father has opened a whole new road of Faith for us, let’s try TOGETHER to remember that:
The new building, with all its possibility, is NOT the finish line! We will need to pay for it monthly, care for it daily and weekly, and dream God’s dream over what it is supposed to contribute to the Kingdom of God constantly.
Renovating the building, while very exciting, is NOT the finish line! There is always a tendency to stop and take a “breather” when a major project—often a building project—is completed. But the building serves the Kingdom, never the other way around!
It will be very exciting to host missionaries and speakers from all over the world as the Schools rev up, but the Schools are NOT the finish line!
It will be amazing when we are offering an advanced Spirit-filled education in a Bible College—but it is NOT the finish line!
THE finish line, of course, is Jesus, face-to-face. Stopping short is just… stopping. That is why we MUST run this race together, and to encourage each other to not grow weary in doing our part in the race!
We are at the starting line, not the finish, of a most amazing Kingdom assignment. We MUST stick together! We MUST both hear the Cloud of witnesses and join them to help each other not quit until the King is holding us! We MUST set aside the hinderances and the sin and the weariness and the individualistic selfishness and the focus on the minor things when the Major thing—JESUS—is all that matters.
But I am truly confident that God has so prepared us uniquely as a congregation that when we cross that line—together—into the Arms of the One who will say, “well done,” we will simply say “Thank You for the privilege of running an important race to the finish!!!”