Bible Text: Hebrews 12:1-3 | Preacher: Adam Gibbs
Athletes train, pushing themselves to the brink of exhaustion all for an event that lasts but for a few moments. A few years ago documentary drama was released about an African American US track and field athlete in the 1936 Berlin Olympics. He was a natural athlete, and would go on to set records that would take almost 25 years to beat. He ran the 100 metre sprint in 10.2 seconds earning the title, “The Fastest Man Alive.” Since then many have beat his record earning this title, but at that time no man could catch him. The newest record was set by a Jamaican in 2009 at 9.58 seconds. It has been said that he is so fast that he had time to slow down and smile for the camera as he would go on to run the 100 metre semi-finals at the Olympics in under 10 seconds.
These men are incredible athletes. But what goes into being able to win the title, “The Fastest Man on Earth”? There are many hours of training, but within that training, they learn the most important part of running a successful race. They must get ready, get set, and go. They need to cast aside everything that would hinder their ability. There are many distractions as they enter that monstrous stadium. There will be people yelling and screaming, some to encourage others to discourage. They will be surrounded by other runners, each who is the fastest from their respective schools or countries. It can be intimidating, but they must block it all out and focus on one thing, THE FINISH LINE.
There are similarities to living a successful life of faith in Christ and these earthly races. The Holy Spirit directed the Apostle Paul to write:
1 Corinthians 9:26–27
I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.
Now we come to another passage where the Holy Spirit directed the author to equate the life of a believer with a race. And as we come to this practical and challenging passage we see that it begins with the word “Wherefore…”, a compound word that draws a conclusion of emphasis. The author is coming to the climax of his argument that began back in chapter 10. A passionate appeal for unwavering loyalty to Christ with the promise of better things to come.
Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.
Through the past year, God has done some incredible things in our lives, and the life of this church. By God’s grace, you have been renewed with a new passion for the work of the Gospel in your life and in the lives of those around you. And so now as we may take time to ponder what God has accomplished in our lives this past year, and begin to prepare for what lies ahead in 2018, let us turn our attention to the challenge made by our Lord through the author of Hebrews.