Tag Archives: perseverance

It matters to this one

starfish

I was searching google for something today…not even really sure what it was now, but came across an image with a familiar story on it.  It goes something like this:

An old man was walking along the beach one day when out in the distance he could see someone frolicking and dancing, bending this way and that way.  As he got closer, he realized it was a young woman picking up starfish and throwing them back into the surf.  He became curious and asked what she was doing.  She explained,  “the sun is up and the tide is going out, and if I do not throw them in they will die.”  The old man chuckled and said, “don’t you realize there are many miles of beach and thousands of star fish?  You can’t possibly make a difference.”  The young woman listened politely, then bent down and picked up another star fish and threw it into the sea.  “It made a difference to this one.”

It made a difference to this one.  What a powerful statement.  I have read this story before, but today it really made me think of the similarities to what we are called to do as believers.  My church has been on a crazy big push to bring awareness and interest to missions, especially foreign missions targeting un-reached people groups (those that have never heard the gospel message).  According to the Joshua Project nearly 2.1 billion people have never heard of Jesus.  That number is overwhelming.  Just like the story mentioned above, it would be real easy to become discouraged when you read the words of Jesus and think about what he commanded us to do

18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations,baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Mathew 28:18-20)

Go and get them ALL. Simple instructions.  He said, I have one job for you.  Tell EVERYONE about me.  But then you remember that number.  2.1 billion people who have never heard.  How can I possibly make a dent in that?  What difference does it make?  I am only one person and I can’t possibly reach everyone, or even coordinate an effort to reach them all.  You cannot possibly make a difference…

Remember the words of the young woman above.  Without hesitation, she bent down, picked up another starfish, flung it into the sea and said, “It made a difference for that one”.

We CAN make a difference for every single individual we come in contact with.  We CAN help lead single individuals to the saving grace of Jesus Christ.  We CAN make a difference in the eternal destination of our family, friends, and strangers we meet on the street.  We CAN make a difference in the lives of an un-reached people group.  Jesus only gave us one task.  He could have given us a list of things and set the expectations high, but He only gave us one thing to do.  With a heart full of Christ-like love, go out and tell everyone about me.  Tell everyone what I did because I love them and don’t want them to live an eternity in hell – separated from me forever.

Lord, I know that I complicate things.  I know that I make being a Christian so difficult sometimes.  I make it about all that needs to be done, and how I need to live, when you have called me to make it all about how I share your message.  You are all powerful and all knowing.  You have given us the holy spirit that will surely help with the growing part when someone chooses to accept your salvation.  Help me to remember that I am to model your love and never miss a chance to share your message with those you place in my life.  It matters to EVERYONE that I tell.  – Amen.

Run the race

race

I finally did it.  My first race since being a senior in high school…nearly 20 years ago!  To be honest, I was a little nervous.  Not because I had anything major riding on the line, but because I finally put myself out there in front of others.  We lined up at the starting line, I rested my hand on my watch button, and…we were off.  Pacing.  That was the name of my game.  I wanted to find a comfortable pace that I could run consistently.  My goal…8 minute miles.  The course was pretty easy.  Not too hilly, and it was a 5K, so the distance wasn’t that big of a deal.  Yet my heart beat faster than normal, my breathing was more prominent, I was pushing it a little harder.  I hit the 1/2 way mark, glanced at my watch and it read around 12 minutes.  I was on pace to meet my goal.  After running a couple more hills than I remembered, I could see the home stretch.  That’s when I heard the pounding of feet behind me.  I was being overtaken.  I was at the end of my ability that day.  I didn’t have anything left in the tank to race this competitor.  As he ran past me, I resolved that 8th place wasn’t that bad, 7th was looking good, but I could live with 8th.  But deep down inside, I wanted my position back.  I kept my eyes forward, kept my pace steady and then opportunity struck.  He let up about 10 feet shy of the finish line.  I seized the opportunity and surged forward, not knowing if I could beat him to the line, but with all I had left, I crossed the line one step ahead of him.  7th place.  It was mine again.  The reward was sweet,  I felt accomplished.  Not only did I finish the race, but I had met my goal of time, and in the end, I dug deep and found a way to pull out one more place.

And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.

Life, especially the christian life, is a lot like that race.  In fact, the bible makes mention of racing in several passages.  2 Timothy 4:7 “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith”.  Acts 20:24 “However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me — the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.”  1 Corinthians 9:24 “Do you not know that in a race, all the runners run, but only one gets the prize?  Run in such a way as to get the prize.”  The idea behind these passages is about perseverance and determination.  Not to win a prize in the earthly perspective, but to stay true to God’s word, keep our eyes on Him and strive each day to live for His glory, winning the battle against Satan and reaching every single person on this earth with the gospel message.  This will lead to the ultimate prize in Heaven.  Hebrews 12:1-3 says it best, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.  And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.  For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scoring its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.   Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”

While it was great to accomplish my goal in that 5K race, It was a beautiful reminder of the ultimate race I am running daily and how the same determination to be steady, bold and unafraid will help me run and finish a strong race.

Lord, may my life today be a reflection of the race you have called me to run.  May you word be hidden in my heart and may I be bold and determined to run for you with the goal of sharing your message of grace and of hope.