The Race Before Us
A. E. Houseman wrote a poem entitled, "To an athlete dying young." It begins:
"The time you won your town the race
We chaired you through the market place;
Man and boy stood cheering by,
And home we brought you shoulder high."
The next verse describes the day of the young athlete's funeral:
"Today, the road all runners come,
Shoulder high we bring you home,
And set you at the threshold down,
Townsman of a stiller town."
The story is about a young man who ran the race, won the race, and then died. Houseman goes on to comment that this young man would not have to endure the sad fate of so many other runners. In his words:
"Runners whose renown outran
And the name died before the man."
I never ran on a track team. I have been a participant in 10 K races. My best time was 48 minutes and 10 seconds. Today I get out of breath if I jog my memory!
I know some things which are always true of an organized race. There is a starting line, a rigidly defined course, very specific rules, and a finish line. There is also a judge. If a runner violates the starting line, leaves the course, violates the rules, fails to cross the finish line, he cannot win the race.
These things are also true of the Christian race that has been set before us. This is the race I want us to think about today.
1. WE MUST ACKNOWLEDGE THE FANS.
"We have a great cloud of witnesses surrounding us." They are the Believers listed in Hebrews chapter 11. They have come through life by faith, met the struggles, and emerged victorious. They are now cheering us on as we run the race the Lord has set for us. I like that picture. They are saying, "Run Rex Run! They are living proof that we can be victorious.
Picture in your mind a stadium packed with spectators who have gathered in an arena to watch the race and cheer on their favorite runner. Picture a beach ball, vendors, four college guys without their shirts and wi ...
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