Another Lap of the Race
In a long distance track race, the runners usually get feedback on their progress. As they pass the start/finish line coaches or displays tell them their elapsed time giving them a measure of progress.
The new school year is a “lap counter” time of year. It’s a time to take stock and refocus. The writer of Hebrews sounds like a coach challenging his runners as they turn a new lap of the race. He has just highlighted famous faith “runners” in the chapter preceding this and encourages his readers to imagine that these heroes are watching their race.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sad 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. Hebrews 12:1-3 (NIV)
Each year at this time we like to take time to “refresh” our vision or as the writer put it, “the race marked out for us.” God has given us a purpose. The big “C” church has a mission of making disciples (Matthew 28:19-20) and witnessing to the resurrection of Jesus from our local turf to the uttermost parts of the earth (Acts 1:8).
We are the local or small “c” expression of that mission here in our area, with influence extending into the global arena. The passage here provides divinely inspired advice for runners like us. Each of us are part of that purpose. Each of us are to be engaged in making disciples—helping anyone find Jesus who has not and helping those who have found Jesus grow their faith as they follow Him. That’s our race!
We are encouraged to get into running gear, or “throw off everything that hinders”. You don’t find distance runners in waders and heavy coats. Sometimes we need to take inventory of our hindrances. They may not be bad or evil, but they are fruitless from the point of view of running the race set before us. As a church we cannot do everything, we study needs around us, resources we have and seek to focus our efforts. Sometimes we have to choose between different options or “throw off” in order to be more responsive to our mission. That’s true for us as individual followers of Jesus too. What could you shed “throw off” from your routines that would liberate you to run your race more effectively?
We are also encouraged to get rid of sinful entanglements. These may be habits or faults that we have knowingly ignored. They may be blind spots that others point out to us. What has you tangled up and slowed from the race pace you could be running? A starting point for thinking may be to review the guidelines of the 10 Commandments we have just studied together on Sundays.
This weekend we will have the first of 4 weeks of “Rebooting Our Purpose” as we turn the corner on another “lap” of our race here at CrossRoads.
Facilities expansion update: We have contracted with our concrete contractor and expect work to begin in this month, with the steel contractor expected to deliver materials at the end of the month also and the contractor who will erect the building starting in early October. Please pray and give as you sense the Lord’s leading.
We are also receiving funds for hurricane relief efforts in Houston, even as another powerful one, Irma, is on track for Florida.
Looking forward to seeing you!