The Iowans for Africa Team is running the Quad Cities Marathon Today. This is the devotion we’ll share before the run.
This is more than a run for you. It’s a part of something bigger.
Look around. When you see another highlighter yellow shirt out on the course, be encouraged. These are Iowans for Africa. Be encouraged by the teammate who has sacrificed what you have to be here today. That woman has gotten up before the sun to begin a training run, even when she didn’t want to. That man has gotten home from work late and set out on the course to put the miles in. Many injuries have been overcome to be here today.
In the 1968 Olympics within the stadium in Mexico City, the stands had gone dark after an extremely busy day of some of the finest track and field events in the history of the Olympics. All that remained inside the stadium were a few judges, the clean-up crew and a handful of reporters who were filing their reports. All of a sudden out of nowhere, a runner in his country’s track uniform half hobbled and half ran into that great stadium. He was a marathon runner who was literally hours behind the official last place finisher. He ran around the track and crossed the finish line. One of the reporters ran down to the field to ask this runner why he bothered to finish the race since he was obviously hurting and no one would even count him as a finisher. The injured runner looked up at the reporter and said, “My country did not send me over 5,000 miles to start the race but rather to finish it.”
This man persevered, endured the pain and finished the race. An incredible feat!
You are on the cusp of an incredible feat today. You’ve already ran many miles and spent countless hours of time and energy to be here. Your family has supported you through and through.
For you Marathon veterans, this is incredible. You’re crazy! But this is incredible. Do something to distinguish this run from the others.
And the rookies: You have no clue what is happening right now! Enjoy it! And don’t forget that you too can be a difference maker out on the course today.
In Hebrews 12, the Lord writes:
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
My hope is that you fix your eyes on Jesus. He is the reason you are here. Set aside your anxiety and fear. Focus not just on this run today, but your eternal run alongside the King. Lives will be changed eternally because of the commitment you made to be here today. And that is why this is more than just a run.
I will close with this Benediction:
As you go, know that the Lord your God goes with you.
He goes before you to guide you,
beside you to be with you.
Behind you to encourage you,
and above you to watch over you.
And may His Spirit give you peace.
Now, and forevermore. Amen.