Summary: On your mark, get set, GO . . . We are all running. Life is a race. To run well, you must run smart.
Pt. 1 – Indian Running
Although you can’t tell it by looking at me now, I have a long history of running in my past. As a 7th grader in middle school I had visions of becoming a great football player. I went out for football and played until my 8th grade year. However, my football career came to a screeching halt when we did a fumble drill and they put me up against Corwin Walker. I weighed about 80lbs in 8th grad and Corwin weighed 180 lbs. We he hit me my helmet turned completely backwards and I suddenly lost all motivation to play football. So I immediately switched to Cross Country. It was one of the best decisions I ever made. In Cross Country we would run 3.1 (or 5k) races. In my Freshmen year I went to State with my team and I finished around 130th. But each year I improved until my Senior year, after elevating my training from 3 miles a day as a freshmen to 10 miles a day, I went to State and finished 11th (Honorable Mention All-State) and ran my personal best of 17:34. I learned a lot of valuable life and spiritual lessons from Cross Country. As you can see from my earlier picture all of my teammates were American Indians. These guys introduced me to a new training method that I want to talk to you about today. They called it Indian Running. I will explain this concept better in just a moment. But first let’s read a portion of text that I want to bring to your attention today.
Hebrews 12:1-3; 12-13
1-3Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we'd better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we're in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he's there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!
So don't sit around on your hands! No more dragging your feet! Clear the path for long-distance runners so no one will trip and fall, so no one will step in a hole and sprain an ankle. Help each other out. And run for it!
III. Indian Running
Indian Running . . . I believe that this method of running was the sole difference in my improvement from my Freshmen year to my Senior Year. Indian Running could not be done alone. Let me show you what Indian Running looks like!
There is something about having the other runners in front of you that pushed you to greater speeds. If you failed to sprint to the front the system broke down and the others would be punished with failure too. That thought kept you going. You followed behind someone and then their momentum would send you to the front. That sounds like Hebrews 12:1 doesn’t it.
a. Don’t make fun of the Rabbit! (We can’t forget those who have gone before.)
My nickname on my team was “The Rabbit” because I would go out and set the pace. In Indian Running the guy at the front was the rabbit and the guy at the back would sprint to catch him.
Paul states that there is a great cloud of witnesses surrounding us. In other words, there are those who have gone before us who are now watching us run and they are cheering us on. I want you to know that I recognize that for the most part we are very young congregation and that we don’t do church like many of our forefathers did church. I am alright with that and believe that is a good thing. And yet, the danger is that if we are not careful we will begin to despise our heritage and the history that was created before us! Do I like the style of all the runners in front of me? Do I appreciate all of their thoughts, ideas, and peculiarities? NO! But does that mean that I should discount their ability to run or the distance they brought us? NO! I should applaud the efforts and accomplishments of the preceding runners and understand that I am able to run the way I run now because of the sacrifices and efforts of those who have gone before. I hear too many folks rail against the previous generation of runners, but they never stop to consider that they are able to run faster and into new territory today due to the pace and exploration of the previous generation! Christianity isn’t just being connected relationally, it is also about being connected generationally! The new generation can’t forget the older generation!