One of a runner’s worst fears is a poorly organized race. I once ran a half marathon (13.1 miles) in which a race volunteer placed an orange cone, in an out-and-back section of the race, one-eighth of a mile from where it should have been. It meant that everyone who participated didn’t run 13.1 miles – we only ran 12.85 miles – which doesn’t qualify as a half marathon. They trashed our race.
Yesterday, Joseph also ran in a race that wasn’t properly organized. I noticed that sections of the course weren’t sufficiently marked. There weren’t enough flags and ribbons at spots along the course to make it clear to the runners where the course veered right and then left. I pointed this out to a race organizer and he said that the weather had prohibited him from putting out all of the flags. Further, he told me that some people had ripped away some of the ribbons recently.
Well, Joseph and some other Winter Haven Christian School students were running in two of the races. Over my dead body were they going to trash a race because they couldn’t tell where the racecourse went. So, I strategically took a place at two locations on the course and pointed the way. I encouraged the runners as they passed and pointed them to where they needed to go.
Now, suppose that I was confused and I pointed them in the wrong direction. They would have trashed their race and it would have been my fault, even though it was unintentional. Suppose that I had a wicked heart and I intentionally pointed them in the wrong direction. They would have still trashed their race and I would be solely responsible. People would have rightly gotten angry at me. Now, suppose that I cheered for each runner as they passed (which I did) as I pointed them in the wrong direction. Their race would have still been trashed.
So, given the previous scenarios, the runners were going to have trouble. I stepped in to help. They were dependent upon me to point the way at those two locations. I had better know which way to point them and then actively work to help them run their race in the right direction.
As I directed the runners for 3 of yesterday’s races, it hit me that my actions directly correlated to that of a pastor, my full-time calling.
Every follower of Jesus is a runner.
Hebrews 12:1 (CSB): “Therefore, since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every hindrance and the sin that so easily ensnares us. Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us,”
Pastors, and anyone else who takes the responsibility to help others on life’s journey, point the way to holiness.
Isaiah 30:20-21 (CSB): “… Your eyes will see your Teacher, and whenever you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear this command behind you: ‘This is the way. Walk in it.’”
Friend, life is a race. We get one shot at it and then we will stand before Jesus on the Day of Judgment. There are all sorts of places where we may get off course. So, we had better have people that speak into our lives who will point the way to Jesus and Christlikeness.
There are plenty of people who will try to point you in the wrong direction but they either don’t know what they are talking about or they have a wicked heart and are intentionally pointing you in the wrong direction.
How do you know if you should listen to and trust those who attempt to point you in a certain life direction? If they have a Bible in their hand and heart and are pointing you away from sin and pointing you to Jesus, take their directions.
Because, after all, when we cross the finish line, we want the Judge to look at us, smile, applaud, and say: “Well done! Well done!” (Matthew 25:23).