Footsteps in Faith: The race of life requires endurance, perseverance to win

| May 15, 2012 | 0 Comments

Chaplain (Maj.) Scott Koeman
Brigade Chaplain, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division



Have you ever competed in sports like track, basketball, football, baseball or wrestling?

Have you ever competed in one of those sports knowing a ton of family and friends were watching you play and were there just because of you?

It’s awe-inspiring.

It’s highly motivating and sometimes even intoxicating. Having our loved ones rooting us in the stands makes a real difference. In many ways, life is just like running a race or competing in an athletic event.

It takes hard work, endurance, encouragement and inspiration, but there are things you have to watch out for. There are dangers (temptations). There is a start (birth) and a finish (death).

John Maxwell tells the story of endurance in his book “The Journey From Success to Significance.”

In his book, he writes about the 1968 Mexico City Olympics. On an October evening, a group of diehard spectators remained in Mexico City’s Olympic stadium to see the last finisher of the Olympic marathon. More than an hour before, Mamo Wolde of Ethiopia had won the race.

It looked as if the last runners were finished, so the remaining spectators were breaking up and leaving, when they heard the sounds of sirens and police whistles. As everyone watched, one last runner made his way onto the track for the last lap of the 26-mile race.

It was John Stephen Akhwari from Tanzania.

As he ran the 400-meter circuit, people could see that his leg was bandaged and bleeding. He had fallen and injured it during the race, but he hadn’t let it stop him.

The people in the stadium rose and applauded until he reached the finish line.

As he hobbled away, he was asked why he had not quit. Being injured, he had no chance of winning a medal.

“My country did not send me to Mexico City to start the race,” Akhwari answered. “They sent me to finish the race.”

How we run the race matters, and having people cheering us on from the bleachers is a huge boost of morale.

Have you ever thought of life as a race? Have you ever thought of faith in Christ Jesus as a race? Who is cheering you on in your life and in your faith? Do you want to succeed? What does that success look like?

If you’re not really sure, now is the time to start asking questions. Seek out your unit chaplain or a good friend who has been running the race of life as a strong Christian.

They’d love to share with you what God’s plan is for your race.

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Category: Footsteps in Faith, News, Standing Columns

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