WE ALL NEED HELP TO FINISH SUCCESSFULLY

Neal Pollard

Many of you have likely seen the “Good Samaritan” story out of Western Ohio, the great sportsmanship of Meghan Vogel, who was in last place in the 3,200 meter race when she caught up to a flagging Arden McMath suffering from apparent sodium deficiency and about ready to give up the race.  Vogel “put McMath’s arms around her shoulders, half-dragging and half-carrying her about 30 meters to the finish line” and “pushed McMath over the finish line before crossing it” (SI.com, via Springfield News-Sun).  Her unselfish act has drawn the attention and praise of many across the nation.

It is interesting to read how the Bible describes Christianity as like running a race.  Paul urges us to “run in such a way that you may win” (1 Cor. 9:24). The writer of Hebrews adds, “Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us” (Heb. 12:1).  Running with endurance and running victoriously are not antithetical.  They go hand in hand.  We do not have to finish in first place to win the Christian race.  We do have to run all the way to the finish.  That requires endurance.

Haven’t you faced times when you were ready to stop?  It may have been temptation, discouragement, fear, guilt, bitterness, confusion, or any number of things.  The net effect, though, was that you had come to the point of surrender.  Isn’t it amazing when a brother or sister heroically comes alongside to carry us toward the finish line.  It is one of the proofs of God’s eternal wisdom in designing the church the way He did (cf. Eph. 3:9-11).  The church is a community of people, heading in the direction of heaven.  We need each other to successfully finish.  That is one reason why assembling and fellowship are important.  We need that association that is tantamount to assistance in finishing the race.  Hebrews 10:24 calls it stimulating one another to love and good works.

Meghan has been called an inspiration.  I agree.  What an act of selflessness and kindness.  But, let us remember that we are called to fill that role on the narrow road that leads to life.  Our job is to help as many as possible finish successfully!

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