Our middle child is on the school’s cross country team. Cross country races involve running a three-mile course across level fields, through woods, over streams, and up hills. The goal is to run these three miles as fast as you can and, of course, the first few runners at the finish line are cheered. But the praise does not end with the winners. Every person running is applauded as they cross the finish line, and sometimes the last one across receives the most applause.
Why are all the runners congratulated, even the last one? They are shown the respect and appreciation of the crowd because they ran the race. They did it. It is great to see the first few runners complete the course so quickly, but it is equally satisfying to see every runner perform. No matter how hard the race is, no matter how often they may want to give up, participants in cross country press on. They perform consistently to the very end.
The author of Hebrews offers encouragement in our spiritual race. Who is with us? What are we to do?
As we face the challenges of our ministries we must remember that we are not alone in the work we will do for God’s kingdom. We are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses. They are all the believers who have lived before us, all those faithful individuals who have worked so hard to serve God. Those witnesses are the people who founded your faith denomination. They are the people who built and funded your place of worship. They are the people who started ministries before you.
But they are also the people who will join with you in your ministry. They are those who offer assistance and prayers of support. And part of that great cloud of witnesses is God Himself, the Lord Jesus and the Holy Spirit, moving with you as you press on to accomplish good for the kingdom of God.
A well planned and well-intentioned ministry is pointless unless we are willing to perform. And we are called to be persistent and consistent in our performance of our good work.
DAILY CHALLENGE: How will you run the race marked out for you?