A journey of 26.2 miles begins with…what in the world am I doing? I began training two weeks ago for another marathon. I have started and completed two, and am hopeful to complete my third in June. My willingness to participate in this activity is against the protocol of my nature. My body desires ease and comfort. My flesh deems it unnecessary to make long term commitments. My mind repeatedly reminds me that I’m not particularly fond of running. If there is a proper and expected posture to take prior to taking on a marathon, I have its opposite. So, why do this? One word sums it up – reward.
To be clear, I’m not a gifted runner. Those who hold records in marathon events and those who would aspire to hold records in marathon events should have no fear of me claiming their spot. I will not be coming in first or the top 10. Based on registrations for this upcoming marathon, I will not be in the top 5000. Sponsors will not be knocking down my door. Monetary gifts will not be issued to me. The closest my name will get to being noticed is if someone (likely a family member or friend) takes the time to scroll through the list of finishers and finds my name towards the back of the pack, and likely at the bottom of my age group.
My rewards are less tangible. After 16 weeks of training, 5 days a week, in sun (maybe), rain (definitely), wind, and profuse amounts of sweat, I will get to race day. When I cross the finish line, I will have put 506.2 miles on my legs over those 16 weeks and I will be given a medal. The medal will not have a place embossed on it, rather “finisher”. That medal will cost the race organizers about two dollars, but to me, its value is much higher.
At the suggestion of a group of writers I meet with monthly, I’ll be coming back to this topic (hence the “#1” attached to the title line above) periodically, with the intent of developing and unfolding the list of rewards I either am experiencing or expect to experience. Striving to do it weekly. There are clear parallels that can be made between running and a commitment to Christ, and prayerfully I’ll be able to draw those out. Pastors hither and yon like to make the illustration that the Christian life is a marathon, not a sprint, so I am not necessarily breaking new illustrative ground. The difference is that while many of those pastors talk about it, I’ll actually be doing it (not trying to be prideful, just making an observation). I hope that it will be of some use and encouragement to you.