In Hebrews, we read, “…let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus…” This Scriptural passage refers to the race we all must run in living out our lives. In a sense we are all athletes on the racetrack of life, running the race that has been set before us by our God.
In every race there is a starting line and a finish line. Between these two points there is a time in which we are required to carry on with some sort of progression to the best of our ability. Similarly, as we all have been chosen by God to run the race of our lifetime, we are required to make some type of positive spiritual progress. Obviously, the destination is the same for all, but the journey that gets us there can be very different for each individual. The specific obstacles, hurdles, and hazards that we face every day vary, so we can’t look at the race as a competition or compare our journey with others. As we attempt to progress to the finish line, all we can do is challenge ourselves personally with some vital questions. Are we making progress as a spiritual athlete attempting to stay on course? Are we successfully running in the right direction? Are we further along spiritually today than last week, last month, last year? Lent is a perfect time to think about these questions.
What, actually, does it require of us to answer these questions in the positive? To “run with endurance” demands that we live every day with perseverance, patience, and conviction; it means living by faith. Most of us want success without the hard work that has to go into it. Wewould rather live by sight, to figure out how everything should work for us and how things must be in the end.
There was a father and his son speaking to each other. The little boy entered a running race, but had fallen many times during the run.
Young boy: I didn’t do too well.
Father: To me, you were great.
You rose each time you fell!
The writer of Hebrews tells us to run the race like this boy, with endurance. In order to do so, Scripture adds the directive that will help us to do this — to “fix our eyes on Jesus…” That means we must order our lives around worthwhile activities and practices, prayer and service to others modeled by Christ himself. St. Paul wrote, “For I am confident of this very thing. Christ himself who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” So, let us keep running, eyes on Jesus who ran the race and who is running with us now and encouraging and guiding us every step of the way.