ILL. Shannon Faulkner made headlines a few years ago as she crusaded to become the first female cadet at The Citadel, an all-male military academy. After a prolonged court battle, youíll remember, she finally won the right to enroll. But she couldnít endure the exercise program required of all cadets. So a few days later she dropped out & weíve heard almost nothing of her since.

ILL. In contrast, there is the professional tennis player, Monica Seles. You may remember that a few years ago a crazed man jumped out of the stands & plunged a knife into her back. It was a terrifying experience, but she did not allow that to stop her. Once her wound healed, she began a rigorous exercise program, regained her strength, & last year won the British Open & placed 2nd in the U.S. Open.

A. I like to hear stories about people who wonít give up. Quitters arenít much of an inspiration, but people who stay with a commitment even though the going gets tough are a source of great inspiration to all.

ILL. Do you remember the man who came to Jesus & said, "Iíll follow you wherever you go"? Jesus said, "Before you make that kind of commitment, you need to realize that foxes have holes & the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head."

"In other words, if you follow me, realize that there will be difficulties. There will be times when you will not know where youíll sleep, or where your next meal is coming from. There will be difficult & discouraging times. But after you realize that, & then put your hands to the plow," He said, "donít look back."

B. When people start the Christian life, & then quit when the going gets tough, they can become an object of ridicule to some & a source of discouragement to others. Thatís the reason Hebrews 12:1-3 is so important.

Listen as I read it, "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders & the sin that so easily entangles, & let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.

"Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author & perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, & sat 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 & lose heart."

Now in this passage the Christian life is not compared to a wind sprint, but to a marathon. In a wind sprint you run as fast as you can for a short distance, & speed is the critical factor. But in a marathon, endurance is the critical factor. Will you make it all the way to the end?

Paul said, "Iíve kept the faith. Iíve finished the course. Therefore there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness. And not for me only..."

PROP. Finishing the race is critically important for all of us who would be followers of Jesus. And this
V.p. Singh
March 30, 2012
Thanks for this inspiring message
Dr. Rubai Mandela
July 21, 2011
I love this message and will certainly share it with many others starting with my own family. God bless you as you continue with the good work.
Nigel Hundy
June 25, 2011
I sat and wept as i read this today. I''m going to take this message and preach it (with the necessary changes to fit the cultural make-up of our church). I''ve been at the point of giving up and quitting. I''ve recently been given bad news regarding my health and i''ve just wanted to run away. Your message ministered to my heart today and by the grace of God will minister to my congregation tomorrow. Bless you.
Good word! Thank you.
Good word! Thank you.
Great word! Thanks.
Sheryl Menke
December 6, 2008
I certainly enjoyed this and plan on sharing it with some of the men and women of our downtown church annex. They are having difficulty in running the race. Many of them have nothing. I also gleaned from this for myself today. Thanks Sheryl
it is very encouraging!