Summary: This is a message about staying the course and finishing our Christian walk strong. Many Christians start off on fire and strong but it doesn't matter how you start but more how you finish.
Are You a Finisher?
This morning I want to ask a question…what’s more important, how you start a race or how you finish?
Doesn’t matter how you start the race but more how you finish the race!
Story of Bill Brodherst
The year was 1980, Bill Brodherst who hadn’t ran in any race since his high school days decided to begin training for a marathon known as the Pepsi Challenge 10k in Omaha Nebraska. Sending in his application, he wasn’t sure they would accept him as a participant, but soon the approval came back and he was a designated part of the running pack. His major reason for wanting to be in this race was that Bill Rodgers, a nationally known runner was also competing in the challenge and Brodherst wanted to be able to tell others that he had run in a race beside the great Bill Rodgers. The reason that Brodherst had not run in races since his high school days was that he had been cruelly struck down in the prime of his life with an aneurysm that caused doctors to question if he would ever walk, let alone run. But with determination that only a few may ever understand, Mr. Brodherst continually took on the impossible and met the challenge. Eventually he did learn to walk... but always with a need to drag on foot behind him as he progressed. His running was not much different. One foot ahead, drag the other up... one foot ahead, drag the other up.
At the beginning of the race Brodherst joined the other runners and as the gun went off, the hundreds of competitors trotted off and Bill slowly followed. For a while he could still see them in the distance, and then the crowds cheered him on for a while. Eventually, he heard the sounds of their feet... coming back towards him and towards the finish line. Then the crowds gradually disappeared, and Bill Brodherst ran on alone towards the halfway point. When he reached he found that everyone had left, assuming there were no other runners. But Brodherst doggedly half ran, half dragged himself to the marker and placed his hands on it so that there would be no question that he had reached that destination.
Turning and making his way back toward the final marker he found that he was the forgotten man: the police stayed with him for a while but then they had to leave to return to their duties. Children came out to taunt and imitate him as he painfully made his way on. The markers that had laid out the course had been taken down. But Brodherst trudged on to the goal. Finally, it was in sight... although the crowds had disappeared and all that was left was the line that had been painted on the street. Bill Brodherst struggled on with no one to watch his victory over his personal obstacles and he crossed the line several hours after he had begun the race.
Then out of the alley came a sound of applause and cheering and out came several of the race’s participants... led by Bill Rodgers - who had won the event. Rushing forward, they took Brodherst up on their shoulders and carried him for a distance and then set him down. Then Bill Rodgers took the medal that he had won from around his own neck and placed it over the head of Bill Brodherst saying "you’re the real winner of this race."
Paul said it like this in II Timothy 4:7 “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
Christian life is a race and Paul says in 1 Cor 9:24 that we are to run to receive the prize
What is the prize? Paul tells us in 2 Tim 4:8 “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.”
Too many so-called Christians that I have known – started the race with grit and fire – but today – they are no longer running the race…
God expects us to run – no matter how long it is or how many obstacles get in the way – with Him everything is possible
Read Passage in Hebrews 12:1-3 / Pray
Remember with Bill, there didn’t seem to be anyone to cheer him on…at least not that he could see…but when he finished…there were great cheers for him
TRANS: The same can be said of you and me…we may not see them but we do have…
1. FANS OF THE FAITH
Heb 12:1 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses (fans of the faith)…”