There are some events in the Olympics that don't interest me at all. But the series of events that I personally enjoy is track and field. I love to watch the relay races, the long distant runs, and the short sprints. And that is probably because I was into track and field when I was in high school.
During a recent Olympics, I was watching one of the long distance runs. One of the runners started off in the back. Then he moved up toward the middle. With about four laps to go, he suddenly broke ahead and took the lead. I thought, Is he going to make it? Could he possibly win?
Sure enough, in those last laps he fell back. The next thing I knew, he was in second place, third place, fourth place, fifth place. He didn't even win a medal.
I know what it is like to be in the last lap of a race. You are giving it your all, but your arms and your legs feel like rubber. It's like you have no control over them. They feel like they are burning inside. It is so hard to keep running.
In the Bible, the Christian life is often compared to running a race. The Apostle Paul often used athletic terms to describe what it is to be a Christian. He wrote, "Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it" (1 Corinthians 9:24). He told the Ephesians that he had finished his race with joy.
Let's not quit running our race. Let's run to win a prize. Let's finish with joy.