This year I was mildly obsessed with the Olympics, particularly the track and field events. I was in awe watching incredible athletes I could never hope to do. Each one would perform their task, I would “ooh” and “aww”, and then the commentator would point out something I had completely missed. The announcers are able to see things, because they’ve done it before, that I would never be able to spot.
During one particular sprinting event one commentator mentioned that a sprinter snapped their head upright too quickly instead of slowly raising their head up as is the appropriate form. Their finish was impacted because of their hasty movement. When I heard that, I thought it was so applicable to our lives as Christians.
How often do we focus on the finish line instead of making sure we’ve properly prepared for the race?
In 1 Corinthians 9 Paul talks about living our lives as if we were in a race:
“You’ve all been to the stadium and seen the athletes race. Everyone runs; one wins. Run to win. All good athletes train hard. They do it for a gold medal that tarnishes and fades. You’re after one that’s gold eternally.
I don’t know about you, but I’m running hard for the finish line. I’m giving it everything I’ve got. No sloppy living for me! I’m staying alert and in top condition.”
When a runner goes from their starting position in the blocks to an upright position too quickly they lose velocity and set themselves up for failure. If they take their time and straighten up slowly, they can gain momentum and make the most of each step. While they know the finish line is their goal, they know a thousand little things need to be right before they’ll reach it.
What would our world look like if we took on the same mentality? Instead of snapping up to focus on the finish line, if we continued looking down at what we’re doing, I believe we could be more successful. Have you checked your heart? Have you checked your mind? Have you checked your footing? Once you’ve checked all of the little things, then, and only then, is looking up to the finish line appropriate.
The mark of an experienced sprinter is knowing when to be slow, I think the same is true in our lives.
Are there areas in your life that you need to speed up? Do you need to slow down in others? Are you firmly grounded in the Word? Have you properly prepared yourself for this race? Let’s do all we can to prepare properly so we can run this race well.