Summary: This sermon is in an ongoing series where I take snapshots from Pilgrim’s Progress and develop a message around it. I have no idea how many sermons will be in this series.
One particular portion of the race he writes about climbing the final climbing stage to a summit called Luz Ardiden. He knew that if he was going to win the race, that this would be the point. He relates how that fear gnawed at him. He was only 39 seconds up on the great German, Jan Ulrich and that every day, Ulrich had shown incredible strength and was chipping away at Lance Armstrong’s lead. It was the longest, hardest ride of the whole journey.
When they passed over the Tourmalet, Ulrich passed Lance Armstrong with a shock attack. Their bikes were about to crest the summit and on the descent, they would be running between 50-60 mph. But before the main descent there was one more incredibly steep peak that would have to be crested.
They headed up the mountain and the magnetism of the finish line began to pound in the legs and heart of Lance Armstrong. At this point, Lance Armstrong felt that this was the time to attack. He lunged at the pedals, scaling the mountain, thinking about empty road that now was ahead of him. He began to gain time on Ulrich. But then something happened. One of the spectators along the way swung a yellow souvenir bag into the path of his bike and down he went. But in all of that chaos as the other riders flew past him, internally there was a screaming, unrelenting voice, “Get Up! Get Up! Get Up!”
Lance Armstrong then began to ride with a vengeance. After a few minutes he caught up with the race leaders. He then attacked and bolted on his bike. In doing so, he gained ten seconds. Then his United States Postal Service team car pulled alongside him and told him, “You’re ten seconds up on the leaders.” Shortly thereafter, another call from the car, “You’re twenty-seconds up.” That portion of the race ended with him winning by 40 seconds, which is an incredible distance when you realize the power of these riders. He ended up winning that year which was the 90th Tour de France.
He relates about another time when he ran out of water and it was desperately hot in his ride and how that his team mates rode alongside of him encouraging, cajoling, and even threatening him. The day that he ran out of water he lost 15 pounds in a single ride. But it was the magnetism of the finish line that kept him at it.
-That must keep all of us at the same pace. We are stretching toward a finish line.
-This life is made up in all of what you see. This life is made up in the magnetism of the finish line. Every one among us must establish that we are going to finish this race. Finish the job. Finish the task. Finish our marriages. Finish being a parent. Finish being a friend. Finish being an encouragement. Finish this church. And on and on we could go.
-I conclude with this:
There is a nautical term used in the sailing world today that I want to tell you about. It is called “kedging.” A kedge anchor is used when a ship is grounded or found in turbulent seas. Sailors will row the kedge anchor as far as they can from the ship in the general direction they wish to move to. They drop the kedge anchor into the sea. Once the anchor finds purchase on the bottom, the sailors on board begin to operate the winch and pull their way towards the anchor. This is know as kedging.