I wish I could say I was a seasoned runner. A few years ago though, I did train for a 5K. While at the gym, I asked questions about machines, building endurance, strengthening muscles, the best drinks to replenish electrolytes, and what foods to eat to help refuel me. I was serious about helping my “naïve” body get into the best shape possible.
Another way I prepared for the run was to know my route. I looked over the course map, envisioned the roads I would be running down, and planned out when there would be an incline or steep trek up hill.
Thinking about running a race makes me think of Paul’s words in I Corinthians 9:24-27:
“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.”
Like you and me, Paul was in full time ministry. He was even a leader in full time ministry. I can just see him passing on helpful tips about the race:
- Focus is necessary to win. Run to win. Know what you’re “running” for.
- Lord, help me remember what the goal is while I’m in ministry. Keep it fresh in my heart and clear in my vision.
- Training is necessary to run the race.
- Lord, what is it that you are asking me to do that will help me train better for a life of full time ministry? What can I be doing that will grow me into a stronger ministry leader: Less on my plate, practicing being still, finding someone to be authentic and transparent with
- Perseverance is necessary to stay on course.
- Lord, when I’m tired of meetings, tired of feeling alone, tired of expectations; fill me with the fuel I need to stay the course. Help me to push through the hard stuff for your benefit and glory!
Knowing what the course looks like helps us to stay on it until completion. Consider pondering Paul’s words this week and ask God to show you ways to know your course better.
Join us next week as we look at “Building Endurance and Keeping Pace” in ministry.