Life lessons from cross-country

1 Corinthians 9:24

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.

I look back fondly on my years of high school and university cross-country. There were good days and bad days, but these lessons still impact my life today. Also, being a Christian, I have come to appreciate how running has provided life-lessons and a multitude of sermon analogies.

Top 10 lessons from cross-country

  1. Run despite the weather
  2. You can talk and run at the same time
  3. Value rest
  4. Never run injured
  5. Hills are better than the flat
  6. Stay hydrated
  7. Good shoes make the difference
  8. A bad day running is better than not running at all
  9. Knowing your limits, but pushing ahead anyway
  10. We run individually, but we finish as a team

My daughter asked me the other day, why 1 Corinthians 9:24 is my favourite verse?

I love to run. I have been running for over 30 years. It has provided many great experiences in life and I have been privileged to run in countries all around the world. Just give me a good pair of running shoes, a course to run and I will go see the world. Running through the city streets and the countryside, the runner’s perspective of things is an amazing experience. Seeing the sites, experiencing the smells and being amongst the people, regardless of the language and culture barriers, running allows unique access to the world.

The Apostle Paul used a multitude of sporting analogies to share about the work that he was doing sharing the Gospel throughout the world. I do not think he was a runner, but he shared a similar mindset that helped with his rigorous efforts and single minded focus for the spread of God’s message. In the words of 1 Corinthians, Paul was not condoning a work based faith, but the willingness to do all that he could with the life that was given to him for the sake of serving God. To the end of his life, or the metaphoric race, he would serve the Lord with all that he had been given.

I cherish the opportunity to run and the many lessons I have learned. But even more, I cherish the grace and mercy  given to me by God. I hope I can utilise the life I have been given to finish the race well and serve Him throughout my life.

Thanks goes out to Coach Chuck Knutsen, the Apostle Paul and Jesus for these lessons.

2 Timothy 4:7

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 

Written by Russell Matthews @ Matthews Down Under

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