Warm Up: 2 Corinthians 5:10, For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.
Stretching: Read Ecclesiastes 12: 9-14
Run: My neighbor has a daughter that runs cross country. He is constantly reminding her before the meet to run her own race because she has a tendency to want to try to start out too fast to keep pace with someone who takes off quickly. Other times, she’ll stay back with a slower pack hoping to save a big kick for the end. Inevitably, that crowd has the same mentality and all have big kicks that they are saving for the end of the race too. There are certainly some strategies that you have to make based on course, competition and how you feel that day. But, mostly you should plan to run your race and stay away from letting the competition shape your run. I always liked to start out slowly and pick up my pace as I went along saving the big kick for the end. The problem was saving just enough so that you are completely spent when you cross that finish line. You try and run the race in such a way that you don’t leave anything behind on the course, knowing that you could have had a better time.
In today’s Stretching, we find that Solomon left a lot on the course when he finished his race. The book of Ecclesiastes is a letter of regret written by Solomon. Perhaps it was his hope that writing this letter to young people would help to redeem the feeble attempt he made at running his race. You see, Solomon had a lot of potential. He was picked to be a big winner. Given the chance to have anything he wanted, he chose God-given wisdom and God was so pleased at his request that he made Solomon the “wisest man who ever lived.” That may sound like quite an honor but it certainly raised the bar, maybe so high the Solomon crumpled under the pressure. For several reasons, he didn’t live up to the hype and his glory fell with his kingdom. Ultimately, Solomon knew that he was going to face a stiff judgment based on all that squandered potential. The book of Ecclesiastes was his response to this great failure in his life. Perhaps he hoped to find a little redemption and subsequent mercy from his judge by sharing the hard truths he learned with generations to follow. More than anything, I think he would remind us to run our own race so that life isn’t filled with the same kind of regret he experienced. The point is that you will be judged on the how you ran the race set before YOU.
Cool Down: “Lord, your word says that I am your workmanship created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which you prepared in advance for me to do. I know you have a unique plan for my life; one that you designed me for. Help me to live my life in such a way today as to line up with your purposes. I don’t want to fall short of the mark, Lord. Help me to run MY race in such a way as to win the prize you have already set before me. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”
“Running is the greatest metaphor for life, because you get out of it what you put into it.” –Oprah Winfrey