Run to the Finish
“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God” Hebrews 12:1-2
“Are you sure that you are well enough to run?” Coach Tracy asked. “Yes,” Holland replied. “I feel great. I’m ready to run.”
Those words were spoken by Coach Jim Tracy and his sixteen-year-old star athlete, Holland Reynolds, back in the fall of 2010. Holland was one of the top cross-country runners in the United States. She ran cross-country in California for San Francisco University High School. Her cross-country team was running to win the state championship for Coach Tracy. He had Lou Gehrig’s disease – ALS. The girls on his cross-country team wanted to win a state title for their beloved coach. They didn’t know how much longer he had to live.
That fall day, Holland was the last runner – the three-mile runner to close out the race. The track meet was the last competition of the season. The team already had enough points to win the state title. Holland did not have to place first, second, or third. She only had to finish. If Holland finished the race, they would win the state title. She wanted desperately to win for her school and her coach.
Holland was a skilled athlete. Normally, she knew how to hydrate her body. However, she had been sick with the flu the week before. She was dehydrated, but she decided to run anyway.
Holland later recalled the race that day in an ESPN interview. She said, “At the two and a half-mile mark, my legs got rubbery.” At that point, she started staggering. She fell 10-feet from the finish line.
One of the officials ran out to help her. He later said he thought she was dead. If he would have touched her, she would have been disqualified – and her team would have lost the state title. However, right before the official touched her, Holland got up on all fours. With every ounce of strength left to her, she crawled over the finish line. She collapsed, and the paramedics came to help her.
After she was stabilized, Holland was loaded in the back of an ambulance. A television reporter climbed up in the ambulance to interview her.
“Holland, do you remember falling?” the reporter asked.
“No. I just remember finishing.” Holland said.
“Do you remember crawling?”
“No. I just remember finishing.”
“What was your motivation? Do you remember anything?”
“All I remember was seeing my head coach on the other side of the line. He was encouraging me to finish the race. I just crawled to him, and we won the state title.”
In the Christian race of life, we are not running to win – we have already won. We are just running to finish. Jesus has already finished the race, and He is standing on the other side.
The point is: Jesus didn’t fail in what He came to do. He said on the cross, “It is finished.” Since Jesus finished for you, shouldn’t you run for Him? Don’t run for your church, your pastor, or to please people. Run to finish the race for the Lord Jesus Christ.
Hit the tape with a blaze of glory. Look to Jesus and finish the race.
James Collins is the Pastor at Fort Scott’s First Southern Baptist Church. For more information about First Southern, call (620) 223-2986, go to the website www.fortscottfsbc.com, like us on Facebook, or view past sermons on YouTube.