Today I struggled through running two miles. Everything within me screamed to quit at a quarter mile. I have to admit - I wasn't sure I would keep going.
Then it occurred to me - this running is a personal metaphor for ministry. Stay with me here - it was profound to me.
My little 2 mile run is my ministry. As I seek to minister to others, I can quit early on when it is especially difficult, or I can set my mind to finish the course! I can be discouraged when I realize my pace is slow and others are zooming around me - or I can stay on my course and run the best that I can.
I can choose to blame Satan for throwing darts at my ministry which make it more difficult, kind of like the cars speeding by, pushing me into the grass for safety, or the exhaust fumes from the trucks and buses, making it difficult to breathe - or - I can realize that the biggest thing standing in my way is me.
For example, every morning I have to choose to get up and work out. Sometimes the weather is bad, sometimes I'm too tired, sometimes I JUST DON'T WANT TO!!! I have to make the choice to get up and go. Sometimes I don't make that choice, and I pay for it when I get back into training! I'm sure you can see the connection. Sometimes you just have to get up and get moving where the Lord is telling you to go!
I also get in my own way by the choices I make when I am not running! I might eat too much of the wrong kinds of food, not get enough rest, not drink enough water, neglect my core workouts, etc. I can make the course much more difficult to run by the things I do to my body! In the same way, I can make ministry harder by neglecting my spiritual condition - neglecting time in God's Word, neglecting prayer, entertaining sin, etc. How can I expect to minister well when my own spirit has not been "trained."
I can find myself discouraged with my running when I think of all the people I know who are running farther and faster! So many people are out there running marathons or even sprinting through 5Ks. Why am I struggling over 2 lousy miles? Then I am reminded - there was a time I couldn't even run one mile without stopping. This is my course for now. I have to keep focused on the course that is before me. Maybe when I reach my goals, in time, I'll be able to run a marathon or view a 5K as a sprint. Regardless, I have to focus on my own course.
I know I have been discouraged when looking at the ministries of others. So many successful people expanding the Kingdom of God. But then I realize - they have to make the same choices I do. We all have a course to run. Some people are built for speed, some for endurance, some for shear perseverance.
My son, Noah says I was showing perseverance this morning.
I would like to be fast. I would like to run far. I would like to be light on my feet. But most of all, I want to find my race, and run it well!
Happy First Birthday!!!
6 years ago