Pastor’s Ponderings: Running the Race with Perseverance

Posted by on Apr 28, 2021 in FEATURED, Pastors Ponderings | 0 comments

Pastor Jim submitted the following thoughts on 4/28/21.  We’re starting to see the “light at the end of the tunnel” with the pandemic, but we still need to “run the race” and persevere.  Scripture and the story of an Olympic athlete give us guidance and inspiration to continue “running the race” until the “crown is won”…

Greetings Friends;
 
I pray that each of you will be blessed by this humble offering.

PLEASE READ: (click on each tab to read the corresponding verse)

“I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

“Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.”

Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.”

 “And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.”

 

 

 
One of the first Olympic champions in the history of the modern games is an American named James Connolly, the first person to win a medal after the resumption of the games in 1896…

James Connolly, who was born in south Boston, dreamed of attending Harvard University, but he couldn’t afford it. He worked multiple jobs for many years to save enough for tuition; and at age 27, he finally enrolled. The year was 1896, and soon it was announced the ancient Olympic games would be resuming in Athens, Greece. James withdrew his college funds and, shortly afterward, left for Europe aboard a German steamer. Other American athletes were on board, too, but they had lots of funding and could travel first class. James found himself far below deck in a cramped, musty, dank cabin with little food. He suffered terribly from seasickness.  The ship eventually took them to Naples.

Shortly after leaving the ship in Naples someone in a crowd “bumped into” James on the crowded streets. Later in the day when James reached for his billfold, it was gone. He’d been robbed of every cent by a pickpocket. When he finally arrived in Athens he was physically and mentally exhausted, penniless, frazzled, and traveling at the mercy of wealthier teammates. He had become weak and was doubting whether he could compete. But at least he had two weeks to recover from the trip, or so he thought. An even greater shock and surprise was about to be revealed to him. The Greeks used a different calendar than the Americans, and Olympic competition was set to begin the very next day!

When morning came, James dragged himself out of bed for the opening ceremonies and stood for hours in the blazing sun awaiting the arrival of the King of Greece. When the games began, James’ event, the triple jump, was first on the schedule. “I don’t know if I can manage even one jump,” James said. “I’m exhausted.”  But one of his teammates pulled him aside. “I’ve seen you make it this far despite all the problems you’ve had getting here,” said his friend. “And I’ve seen you jump. There’s no one here who can beat you. Just remember. You’re representing Americans now.”

As the competition proceeded, James watched his opponents. The French jumper had the best marks, a triple jump of 41 feet, 8 inches. Walking to the edge of the runway, James had a rush of adrenaline along with a fresh surge of confidence. Racing down the runway, James leaped into the air and to everyone’s amazement, his triple jump measured nearly 45 feet.  Leaping to their feet, the thousands of spectators began roaring. That afternoon, James Connolly stood on the victor’s stand and was awarded the medal, at that time signifying first place. Not only did he become America’s first Olympic hero, he was the first Olympic champion of modern times.

 

You know friends, as I read that story, I was reminded that we must all persevere through difficulties if we’re going to win the crown God has for us. Jesus tells us in John 16:33,

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart!  I have overcome the world.” 

 

While we are assured of the victory we must still run with perseverance the race that is set before us. We must not give in or give up as we live our lives of faith. As God’s people we may have many difficult days, but like good spiritual Olympians, we must keep on going until the prize is won.

Shalom,

Pastor Jim

 

+     +     +     +    +     +

For more Pastor Ponderings Devotionals, click this button:   Pastor’s Ponderings  

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *