I recently went to a cross country meet for Covenant Christian High School (Grand Rapids, MI). For those of you who don’t know much about the sport, it’s running a distance through grass (which can slow you down more than you think). For high schoolers it is a distance of 5 kilometers (3.1 miles). Needless to say, the weather is not always perfect. Rain or shine, sleet or snow, grass or mud, they run. I was even crazy enough to run on the team for two years through high school. I loved it even though some days were tough. Attending the meet made me realize how much I missed that atmosphere.
I was reminded again why the Bible often compares the life of a Christian to that of a runner, and participation in this sport taught me a lot of lessons for everyday life. Cross country taught me how to set goals and learn how to achieve them, thus it made me a stronger person. The Christian can and should apply this same enthusiasm to his or her spiritually life and tasks of everyday life. Running allows you to be competitive with other teams and your fellow teammates, but it’s friendly, as we were instructed to let our light shine, even (or especially) on the running field.
Even though you are running for an individual place, there is a team spirit that comes through, no matter if you are one of the first placers, towards the middle, or at the back. Your team is there to support you and cheer for you. The body of Christ should operate in the same manner: encouraging everyone in their journey of faith; not just popular or well-known people.
Being part of a crazy cross country-loving team is one of the best things I did in high school. Yes, you have tough days and bad races, but you also have a team and friends that are ready to pick you up and help you. Even on those bad race days I liked to remind myself that it’s not the end of the world. There’s a lot of other good things in your life to be thankful for. Like those team mates and friends that you have in your life to help you get through any struggles, running or not.
“…and let us run with patience the race that is set before us. Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith” (Heb. 12:1c-2a).