Another Word…by Gus Keiser

April 16, 2018

“You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth?”

                                                                                                                        Galatians 5:7

 It was a hundred and six years ago this past Saturday the day that unsinkable ship sank. The Titanic was on its maiden voyage under the orders of Captain Edward John Smith.  On the evening of that tragedy, Captain Smith was attending a dinner party given in his honor in the ship’s dining room.  He excused himself and went to the ship’s bridge, having received numerous iceberg warnings throughout the weekend.  After talking to the crew, he gave orders for them to alert him immediately with any weather concerns and then retired to his cabin to sleep.

It was about 11:40 p.m. when he was awakened suddenly by the collision and he rushed to the bridge. After receiving what details were available about the collision, he then made a quick personal inspection of the ship.  He immediately ordered the lifeboats prepared, but wavered when it came to the order to lower and load them.  He eventually gave the order, but after that order was given little is known about Smith’s actions in the first two hours before the ship sank.  His legendary skills of leadership seemed to have left him.  Instead, he was curiously indecisive and unusually cautious.  He was last seen in the bridge area after having given the final order for everyone on board to abandon ship.

So often, as Christians, we, as Paul wrote to the Galatians, start the race well. We run with the greatest of speed, agility, and endurance.  We can feel the air rushing around us and we hear the crowd cheering us on as we sense the energy searing through our body.  Life is good, our faith is growing stronger, and then suddenly the road before us seems to disappear or, like Captain Smith, we smack into an iceberg.  At first, we’re not quite sure what happened and we underestimate the damage.  Soon however, confusion clouds our ability to make decisions, and the excitement of the race is replaced with the fear of never being able to finish.

Paul realized that this was the case with these new Christians so he warned them while challenging them with the question, “Who cut in on you?” They were running a good race, staying faithful to the truth of the gospel…but then something happened.  Does this scenario sound familiar to you?  Where are you in the race you’re running today?  Are you running headstrong?  Do you feel yourself loosing pace?  Or are you seeing yourself standing on the sidelines instead of running with the pack.  Most coaches will agree that anyone can start a race, but what matters is who finishes that race.

The twelfth chapter of Paul’s letter to the Hebrews begins with these words of encouragement, “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.”

 Today, if you’ve left the race, if you’ve given up, may you be challenged to dust off those running shoes, grab your water bottle, take God’s hand, and get back in the race.

God of all power and might…strengthen us for the long run, for we know that life is more a marathon than a sprint. Be our running companion as we run the race you’ve set before us, all the way to the finish.  Amen.

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