Thursday, May 28, 2009

There Is No Off-Season

The first time that I ran a marathon, I was fifty years old and stupid. Someone had emailed me a training program which I followed loosely. I ran a lot of miles. I figured that counted for something, but I did not train. Things went pretty well in the race until I hit mile 20. I was a hurtin’ gator. “What in the world was I thinking?” I finished the 26.2 grueling miles, but needless to say, it wasn’t in a blaze of glory.
Early last September, I made an impulsive decision and signed up online for the Memphis/St. Jude’s marathon in December. The next morning I woke up and realized with despair what I had done… or rather what I needed to do. I printed off the training schedule and looked with dread at the rigorous plan. Not too bad initially, but then the mileage started building up. Just at the point when I was about to quit, God sent two running buddies into my life to encourage me. The mileage was the same, but the accountability kept me honest. As the race approached, I dreaded it. “I can’t do this.”
A remarkable thing happened. All of those miles, all of those hills on Shady Grove, all of those mornings when the last thing I wanted to do was run, came together. It was the first time that I had intentionally trained. And it made a significant difference.
There is a recent New Balance shoe advertisement that says, “How you prepare can change the whole game.”
The same goes for your daily Bible reading. It is not that you necessarily feel like it, but what you need to do. You are training for something in your reading and meditating on Scripture. It may be for what you would consider a Memphis marathon of life, or even Boston, or a race that you never anticipated. And you will be ready. Build up your strength. A friend’s son who is training for the Army’s Special Forces wrote,
“The ruck sacks will only get heavier and the mileage longer.” Train in God’s Word like your life depends on it, because it does.
You are always training for something. And as a friend wrote recently in an email, “Life is too short to live a mediocre Christian life.”

Train yourself in godliness;
for while bodily training is of some value,
godliness is of value in every way,
as it holds promise for the present life
and also for the life to come.
…For to this end we toil and strive,
because we have our hope set on the living God…
1 Timothy 4. 7-8,10
Press on!


Keith and Joan said...

Thank you for your wisdom. God has truly gifted you with a clear "down to earth" style of writing that touches me right where I am. I am praying for you today. Thank you again for allowing the Holy Spirit to speak through you.

nicole said...

always a great word. thank you!