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RUNNING THE RACE GOD'S WAY


Joni Eareckson Tada recently told a story commenting on Romans 15:1-2: "We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up."


She writes, "My husband, Ken, serves as a track-and-field coordinator for Special Olympics. There is always band music, colorful banners, and flags everywhere. Scattered across the infield are teams of mentally handicapped young people.


"A few years ago at the games, Ken blew his whistle to signal the contestants for the 50-yard dash. A Down’s syndrome girl with thick glasses and a short, stocky boy in baggy shorts were the first to line up. There was a moment of stillness, then a bang from the starting gun. Off they sprinted--six contestants bobbing and weaving down the track.


"Suddenly the boy in baggy shorts began running toward his friends in the infield. Ken blew his whistle to direct him back to the track, but it was no use. At that point, the Down’s syndrome girl, who was just a few yards from the finish line, turned around, ran toward him, and gave him a big hug. Together they got back on the track and completed the race arm-in-arm, long after the rest of the contestants had crossed the finish line."


She ends by saying, "We must run the race not to please ourselves, but to please the Lord. That often means taking time to stop and put our arms around a weaker friend who needs to get back on track. Have you watched a fellow believer get spiritually confused, and yet you’ve kept on going? Jesus doesn’t seems as preoccupied with 'winning' as we do. The important thing is how we run the race. And we are called to run it, bearing with the failings of those who are weak."


(From a sermon by Rodney Buchanan, Christ’s Prayer for the Church, 6/6/2011)

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