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Daily Devotion

The Greatest Race of All

By Paul Dailey
Guest Writer

CBN.com Those of you who remember the Back to the Future movie trilogy of the mid-to late ‘80s may recall a scene toward the end of Part II with Dr. Emmett Brown, or Doc. He had traveled back in time from the 1950s to live out the remainder of his years in the Old West as a blacksmith, scientist, and general handyman. You may recall how he met Clara, the new schoolteacher in town, and began to win her heart through his awkward charm and knowledge of science, until a turn of events led to their breakup.

In a fit of depression, Doc wanders into the local saloon late at night and has the bartender pour him a shot of whiskey. He remains there all night long, spending hours upon hours with the same drink still in his hand, telling stories of the future, while the other patrons sit listening, amused by his description of life in the 20th century.

He begins to explain to them about “auto-mo-biles.” One old-timer asked him, “If everybody’s got one of these auto-mo-whatsits, does anybody walk or run anymore?” “Of course, they run,” Doc explains, “but for recreation -- for fun.” At that, the old-timer replies something to the effect of “Run for fun? What kind of fun is that?” Every time I think of that line, it makes me chuckle because that’s exactly how I feel about running.

As I was speaking to the teenagers at our church last night, I wanted to relay one point to them. Whether or not we like it, we are all running a race. Paul wrote in Acts 20:24,

However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace.

The Lord keeps telling me this over and over again. It doesn’t matter how well I start the race of faith. Millions of people start every day. What matters is how I finish. Anyone who has ever completed the grueling 26.2 miles of a marathon will tell you, every inch of those miles would be completely useless if the runner doesn’t cross the finish line. Likewise, if while running the race of life and fighting the good fight of faith, we don’t see it through to completion, we have gained nothing.

That is where the grace of God comes in. It’s inevitable that we will get tired. During his missionary travels, Paul encountered many trials. This is how he recounts those experiences:

We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death…

But he continues in verse nine with these words,

…this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead (2 Corinthians 1:7-9).

So if you are getting tired and you aren’t sure you have the strength to go another step, if you feel like you are almost dead, stop where you are, pull out your racing manual (The Bible), and see what God says about being refreshed. If you are tired, it is only because you have been trying to go on your own steam.

Even the great prophet Elijah needed nourishment from heaven to endure his long journey (1 Kings 19:5-8). Turn to the Lord in prayer and He will give you that cool drink of water that reinvigorates you for one more mile. Psalm 121 promises you that God is watching over you and He doesn’t get tired. He and His storehouse for you are utterly exhaustless.

This race that God has given us to run is serious business. But it doesn’t have to be such drudgery. Unlike the old-timer’s sarcastic attitude, running can be fun. Who would argue that Jesus ran the best race that could be run and He was more joyful than anyone around Him? Obviously, He knew something about tapping into the abundance of heaven to accomplish His work.

That same abundance is available to you, right where you are. The grace of God is sufficient for you, but it can only be appropriated to your life through faith. So don't get weary by looking at the long race that's ahead of you. Look to Jesus and you will be able to endure to the end. Remember Paul's words to us:

I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us (Romans 8:18).

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