Not Just A Bucket List


     It was only a few hours after I was back home from running what I thought was going to be just a trail half marathon – I could have not been more wrong. In fact, I was not so incorrect about any race that I have ever done. To add depth to that statement I will share that I have run at least one marathon in every state (and in DC), logged over 21,000 miles, more 5ks than I can remember, as well as my share of 10ks, a few half marathons and even tried to finish a 50k! – And all of this in the past ten years. So when I say that I have never been so incorrect about any race I am basing it on many races!

       The race took place in Sydney, FL – just a few miles from our home. Before we even got to the second mile I knew that the day was not going to be as I thought! My pace of 9 minutes per mile came to a quick halt! Before me I saw about thirty runners who were all looking downward – at what I did not know but was soon to find out.

        There was a steep descent that led to a creek that was about nine feet wide and by seeing the water level I guessed it would be close to knee high on most of us! NOT a good way to continue with temperatures only in the mid 40’s!  The course had miles of steep hills that I had to climb on ‘all fours’ – yes – on my hands and knees!  There were many sections that you walked at a very slow uneven pace – and even sections that you went down ‘sliding on your butt! Not to be overlooked was the hill that you had to grab onto a rope to pull yourself up (twenty feet high I would guess).

      I am happy to share that there were sections that you could actually run on! But I figured out early in this trail race that my pace would not be as planned! I did my best to run my pace   using caution (I did not know I would have to be quite that cautious! The path determined and dictated a slower pace for sure!  I had many reason to be careful. I have another trail marathon (a full one) in two weeks and another marathon early the following month. I would need to factor in a 66 mile treadmill run to mark my birthday (I will be 66 in January). That’s not all – I knew that I had another marathon to follow that in a few weeks – and then my first 50 mile trail race in April. Besides running the difficult path, still being soaked to the bone in that cool temperatures had me wondering – “Will I get sick after today’s race?”.

        At the finish line, with the clock showed that I had finished slower (2:14) but not all that much off from the planned 2:10 finish time.. That was a nice to see. My Garmin watch had already showed that fact, but the clock at the finish line looked better!
               I  saw an ad ( Pearl Izumis isoShift ) in one of the magazines ( Florida Running & Triathlon – November / December 2010t) that was in the race packet about sneakers, that caused me to think about the connection between the way some Christians run races and ‘run their spiritual race’. In bold print it read:

The early mornings. The screaming muscles. The countless miles. When
you add them up, the sacrifices made by the marathoners who came before
us are humbling.  And yet look at how we’ve tarnished their legacy.  Somewhere
along the line, the marathon became less of a competitive sport and more of
 A line item on a bucket list…..

     As Christians, are we doing the same with our spiritual race? Are we just heading toward the final finish line with the assurance that we are saved? Do we, go to church, pray, study Scripture and just wait until the day we will cross it? Do we just take it all for granted and rest upon the Scriptural fact and overlook / forget that we are to be disciples and draw others to a saving knowledge of Who Jesus is and what He will do for them? Scripture is clear that we are to run with perseverance the race marked before us (Hebrew 12:1b) but we also need to be an example: WWJD – What Would Jesus Do? … Do not just do the miles and go the distance! Press forward to the finish line BUT draw, in the love of Christ Jesus, as many as you are led to share the ‘GOOD NEWS! 

     The BUCKET LIST movie that my wife Donna and I watched the afternoon after that trail race had many good messages. But to me there was a message that went beyond the one from the movie. I saw, within my heart’s mind, that sneaker ad and a Christian message of needing to take our responsibility as Christians more seriously as we do this very important race in life. I do not want to just check off doing different ‘spiritual things’ as done – I want to help add names on a list that will show that many, many people  are on the correct course and will be crossing that most important Heavenly finish line!   ~~ How about you?