Gospel Gazette Online
Volume 20 Number 12 December 2018
Page 8

Finishing the Race

Derek Broome

When a race begins, a true racer believes he can truly win. Even though all of the evidence and statistics would say otherwise, this racer believes he has a fighting chance to be victorious. It is that same belief that drives him to train harder and harder. It is that belief that strengthens him as he steps to the starting block. The first few steps, he is confident and staying with his opponents, neck and neck. However, slowly, he begins to fade. The harder he tries, the farther back he falls in the field. He is now in last place with what seems to be no hope. At this point, this racer has options. He can quit and slowly come to a stop before walking shamefully off the track. He can slow down and save his strength, because he is not going to win anyway. Or, he can keep running with the same strength and determination he had at the beginning of the race.

This racer is determined to keep running. He runs harder than he has ever run before. He passes one person, then two, then three. The crowd is on its feet. No one can believe what he sees. The racers come to the final turn, and everyone anxiously watches to see what will happen. The racer gives it all he has and lunges forward while crossing the finish line. He places 4th and misses the podium completely. While some will only remember who placed in the top three, true race fans remember the way that racer finished.

Our spiritual lives are like a race. In order to run the race, we must first enter the race. When we put Christ on in baptism, as is commanded in Acts 2:38 and other verses, we enter the race. Yet, just because we enter the race does not mean that we will be victorious. The race will be difficult at times. If our minds and our bodies are not prepared, then, we will not have the endurance to make it to the end. The preparation needed for our spiritual lives takes place before and after baptism. It is necessary to study the Word of God to not only learn the things that we should do and should not do to be pleasing to God, but to also strengthen our faith so that we will walk in His ways daily (2 Timothy 2:15).

Our race is lived out each day. Sometimes, we do well and seem to be leading in the race. Sometimes, we begin to fade and are desperately in need of strength and guidance. We must all remember as we run this race of life that we are running toward our Father in Heaven who has given us the tools to run the race until the very end. As long as we keep running the race according to His plan for us, we will be victorious.

As Paul began to close out 2 Timothy, he gave us hope of what will happen if we faithfully run the race of life. “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing” (2 Timothy 4:7-8). We, too, can be like Paul and have faith and endurance to finish the race of life. As we begin this new year, let us keep our eyes on Heaven and continue running faithfully until we see our God.

The Choice to be Happy
Ecclesiastes 9:7-10

Denny Petrillo

Denny PetrilloEach of us makes choices, and we make them every day! It is a decision to choose happiness or a decision to choose unhappiness. It really does depend upon us (despite our belief that others make us happy or unhappy). Solomon suggested five areas where one should find “happiness” and a “cheerful heart.”

First, one should be happy with his food and drink (v. 7). There are so many in the world who are dying of thirst and starvation. For those of us who have our “daily bread,” there should be an attitude of gratitude.

Second, one should be happy with his clothes (v. 8a). If one can pick clothes that are comfortable (“white”), he should be happy with that. Again, there are many in the world who lack the kind of clothing needed for changes in the weather. If one has adequate clothing, there should be a sense of joy.

Third, one should be happy if he has medicine (v. 8b). Solomon mentioned the benefits of “oil.” Frequently, oil was used for medicinal purposes, as well as an ointment to aid dry skin. Not everyone has either the availability of oil or the resources to purchase it.

Fourth, one should be happy with his mate (v. 9). When one finds a wife, he has found “a good thing” (Proverbs 18:22). There are so many who are in unhappy marriages. Why are they unhappy? Usually, they are unhappy because one or both have failed to invest in the marriage, trying to make it the best marriage possible. Also, there are those who have failed to develop contentment with one’s mate. If the husband is always thinking of other women, or the wife is thinking of other men, a lack of contentment will exist and will grow as a cancer in that marriage.

Fifth, one should be happy with his job (v. 10). There are so many who continually gripe and complain about their jobs. Yet, there are others who have the same job and are happy with that job. So, what is the difference? The happy ones have a determination to maintain a positive attitude about that job. Frequently, people become discontent and either are miserable in their jobs or are frequently ‘job hopping.’ The grass isn’t always greener on the other side, as so many foolishly find out—but too late.

Happiness is in your grasp. Choose to seize it!

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