12 Aug Stay the Course
Read Hebrews 12:1-17
Thought for the Day: I don’t have to worry about anyone else as I am accountable only to Jesus!
As a teenager, I ran cross country. While many of my friends began running in middle school, I was a “late bloomer” and didn’t start running for our school until 10th Grade. As I have always been extremely competitive, I felt that I was at a significant disadvantage and tried to do whatever I could to “catch up” with my friends. At first, when our coach asked us to do long easy runs, I was not content to go at a slow pace with the other newer runners. Instead, I felt that I needed to prove myself and run with my friends. Unfortunately, I quickly found their slow pace was my fast pace. At the end of one of these runs, the coach pulled me aside and asked me how I was feeling. While I told him I was totally fine, he said that I was clearly not – I was tired and he said my physical form was breaking down (and he could tell by my tired hands and knees). While he admired my desire to get better, he asked me to trust him and stay the course. While I was momentarily a slow runner, I simply needed to trust his process.
Two thousand years ago, the writer of Hebrews urged readers to not grow weary and stay the course. When First Century believers faced unprecedented persecution, they were encouraged to remember the model Christ provided. When He brought truth and love to a hurting people, He was rejected and put to death on the Cross. Through it all, Christ stayed the course; as He faced death, He never gave up nor compromised. When First Century believers followed Christ, their society did not reward them. Instead, they were ridiculed and persecuted. Yet, even in the face of this, they were told to understand that what they were going through was temporary. Ultimately, while hatred never wins, Christ’s love always prevails. This is why they were encouraged to “lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees.” During the times they felt drained or defeated, First Century believers were encouraged to stay the course.
Today it can also be easy to see crushing opposition and feel disheartened. For some, this means they have family members who have walked away from their faith. For others, it could be unemployment or personal tragedy. However, for nearly everyone, some days yield the weight of the world’s burden that feels too heavy to carry. Fortunately, there is good news: we don’t have to carry a heavy burden. None of us is asked to bear the weight of the world on our shoulders. Instead, we are asked to trust Christ and begin our run! Like cross country runners, the Holy Spirit will give us strength so we don’t have drooping hands and weak knees. We are never asked to “catch up” to anyone else. Instead, we are invited to see that it is Christ who is leading us. All we are asked to do is stay the course!
Pastor David (and Stan)