Monday, February 9, 2009
Recently I attended a cross country race, my first ever. Not to run, but to watch - the runners, the crowd.
It was a crisp day with blue skies, the trees just beginning to change into golds and reds. As the runners gathered at the starting line, I was amazed to see the buzz of activity. Muscles were being stretched and a continual movement of limbs was going on so as to be ready for the race.
The starting gun was sounded and off they ran, around the woods, returning to the area filled with the cheering crowd. Off they went again …then down the homestretch they came. The crowd lined the running path, cheering the runners onward, encouraging each one until the last runner had completed the race. It didn’t matter that a runner wasn’t first, stumbled or was in pain. Each runner was running the best they possibly could and the surrounding crowd cheered each one onward.
It brought tears to my eyes as I realized that is what is going on around us as we run the race God has given us. There are cheers going up for each of us. Some cheers are from people around us, but many cheers are from that great unseen cloud of witnesses:
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2
How important it is for us to join with that unseen cloud of witnesses and cheer for our fellow-runners. No matter how swift and skillful or slow and stumbling a runner may be, we can cheer them onward. That is what encouragement is about.
Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.
I Thessalonians 5:11
Heavenly Father, please open my eyes to see areas in which I can encourage others…and then to do so. In Jesus’ name. Amen.