Tuesday, January 1, 2008

We Must Finish the Race!

In 1988, a team from Jamaica entered the Winter Olympics in Calgary, Canada. This oddity received much criticism. Who thought that four men from an island could compete in a winter sport? The odds were stacked against them.

I first learned about this sporting team as I watched holiday movies with my family. I came across a movie called Cool Runnings with John Candy. This movie was inspired by the first Jamaican Bobsled team, but is not an accurate depiction of actual events. Yet a very motivational movie like Mighty Ducks and Rudy. I searched the internet (oh how I enjoy the convenience of research from my kitchen table) and found news articles that revealed the true story. The parts that I want to portray from the movie are factual.

Underdogs in the competition, this team had only three months to prepare; failed to find sponsors and adequate funding; and were definitely unaccustomed to the cold weather. But they had determination that drove them past the crude remarks and many other obstacles that came their way.

The team qualified in the time trials by overcoming one of the obstacles of learning how to run and push off on ice. When the team competed in the first heat, they ran a slow speed and came in last place. In the second run, the team had the fastest start time and finished in a very competitive time limit. Inspired and encouraged the team readied for the third run fully believing they would place high in the event. Disappointment came upon them only meters from the finish line when they crashed. Lying on the side on the ice one of the team members said, ”We have to finish the race.” The team got out and pushed the sled across the finish line (in the movie they carried it) in order to finish the race. Nevertheless, they came in last place but had earned the respect of the spectators who clapped, cheered and shook their hands.

As believers in the body of Christ, we are on the same team. Our lives in this world is a race we must run. We must run this race as if to win the prize and with strict training.

1 Cor. 9:24-25 (NIV)

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. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.

Our trials and circumstances train us for what we’re to do for our Lord. The trials strengthen us and prepare us for what lays ahead. When life gets tough we need to be encouraged to finish the race. We may get knocked down, but we have to get up and finish the race and we will receive our reward. As Paul told Timothy:

2 Tim 4:7-8 NIV

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.

I have been knocked down but had to choose to get up. If you get knocked down, choose to get up.

Proverbs 24:16 NIV

for though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again,
but the wicked are brought down by calamity.

As team members let’s encourage one another in the body to get up so we can finish the race. Let’s get up again and again. As many times as it takes to finish the race.

As we start 2008, I want to encourage you (and myself) that when we get knocked down to get up as we must finish the race!

And I do believe that along the way before we receive our crowns that will last forever which we’ll cast upon our Savior’s feet, we will win other prizes along the way. See the post below for a prize I recently won. Our God is good and gracious to keep us encouraged in this race!

Happy New Year--2008!

Blessings in Christ--

5 gracious comments:

Linda said...

Shonda, thanks for commenting at my blog. That means a lot. Sometimes I know I'm pretty shallow when I write, but I do go a little deeper at Internet Cafe and in our newspaper. I just love to laugh. But I also love to visit women such as you who regularly inspire others. Great post for the new year!

Tam said...

Happy New Year Shonda!

Thank you for the beautiful Scripture you left on my blog! That was perfect! Your encouragement means a lot to me!

Love - tam

Karen H TX said...

Thanks for the post, it was very inspirational. Good one to start the New Year on. Love to you Shonda -- Karen

Bev Brandon said...

No pressure from me at all Shonda concerning my e-mail. I just have a heart for you and so long for you to find your beautiful God this year through His Word, through fellowship, through your church...I am believing with you that you will continue to find HIM. Just love your huge heart for others. It's a humble heart. You are so touched by people, by words, and I love that! Thanks for introducing me to Lisa.

jennyhope said...

oh i love these verses i esp love the proverbs verse. that really speaks to me!! thank you for your words on my blog. i have been on yours several times!! it is so sad what that fam has gone through. happy new year!