“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Heb 12:2,3
Are you running a race? What is your finish line? And where is your water station?
A few years ago in my home town, a lovely artist, Kim Wigginton spoke to the moms of the church, challenging us to consider our lives as a race. She beautifully illustrated her example with an incredible chalk illustration. If you have ever run a marathon, or embarked on a similar undertaking, you may understand her enthusiasm for two particular parts of the endeavor: The finish line (because all the hard work is finished) and the water station.
When you see the water station on the horizon, you know refreshment is coming, and you can refocus and see the finish line more clearly. If you are weary or slowing down, you may have the energy to pick up the pace. You may just be encouraged to keep the same pace, but still be refreshed.
Kim’s chalk talk began with the beautiful depiction of mountains, a great divide. The majesty and beauty of the mountains was breathtaking. Nestled high in the mountains as her picture took shape was a dazzling kingdom, brilliant bright blues and shiny white made the kingdom appealing and desirable. One could not help but long to be in the midst of that kingdom. As the chalk drawing took shape it became clearly obvious that the kingdom was so far away and across so many mountains that it was unattainable.
The final touches on the canvas depicted the truth she was prepared to share. Crossing the great divide was a crucifix. The runners of a race were pictured crossing the great divide using this crucifix, each pursuing the beautiful kingdom of God. There is no better place on earth than on the road that leads to heaven. The runners were not turning around to view the scenery, or pausing to check a compass. There was only one path to the glorious kingdom, and keeping their eyes on the finish line was really the only thing that would keep the runners from falling off the “bridge” and into the canyon below.
When we tire, we are to slow down at the perfect water station, our Savior, Jesus Christ. Just as he told the Samaritan woman at the well, whoever drinks the water Jesus provides will never thirst. The living water will become a spring of water welling up to eternal life (John 4:10-14).
Likewise, we can be a watering station to others. Once we realize we have been crucified with Christ, and it is Christ who lives within us, it becomes incredibly humbling. We are indeed surrounded by a great crowd of witnesses. If we are willing to unload the burdens of sin, throw off everything that hinders us, discard bad attitudes, ungodly habits, idols, unforgiveness, excessive busyness, and all that slows us we, too, can be watering stations. Like Christ, we can endure this race for the joy set before us.
We will often do things on this earth for very minor rewards. A 10K run will be endured simply for the t-shirt you receive at the finish line. For what reward are you running?