Pastor, what is it that you’re running from?
“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may attain it.“
1 Corinthians 9:24-27
By Kevin Cauley, Pastor
Darlington Presbyterian Church
A friend stopped me while I was running one day and asked me that question. I responded, “I don’t know. Why do you ask?” He said, “Because the only time I run is if someone is chasing me.” We both laughed. While it is a funny question, especially for a long-distance runner, it is also a great question that we need to each ask ourselves. Am I running from something?
My answer to the question is: I’m not running from anything. I am running TO something. I am running to attain an imperishable prize. There is a big difference between “running from” and “running to” something. Running from something is running loaded down with the constraint of fear and anxiety. I run because I am constrained by love. Running from something is drudgery. I run because I know the joy of life when I run. Running from something means you are forced to run for survival. I run because I am free to run, and it is God’s gift in this season of my life.
Let me share a little bit of my own testimony. Running came into my life at the end of a difficult decade. It’s not that I didn’t have joys. I had many joys during this time. But my walk with God grew mostly in the valleys and I wondered if God could grow me on the mountain top too. So, I prayed, “Lord, help me to know You through the joys of life.” God answered this prayer with the gift of running. This small joy teaches me daily about living by grace through faith. Paul encourages us to live life as those running toward the imperishable prize. This is a race run by grace. He encourages us to live for what is imperishable because the prize is within our reach.
In a marathon, every runner who finishes the race gets a beautiful medal to enjoy. But here, Paul is talking about living for the imperishable prize, eternal life with Jesus Christ. Everyone who finishes the race in Christ receives the prize of eternity in heaven. I hope this to encourage you to either join the race with Christ or stay in the race with Christ. Life is tough right now. People are struggling with faith and doubt. Paul is saying to us run with your eye on the prize. Run with the joy that God has set before us in Christ. I pray you will be set free from running away from life in fear and encouraged to run this life by faith as those running towards the joy that is in Christ Jesus.
So, are you running from something or are you running towards Christ?