Race organizers set up cooling stations at each mile along the course where bikers and runners could enjoy a spray of cold mist against their feverish skin and gulp down a welcome drink of water. Homeowners hauled out their garden hoses and sprayed athletes as they biked and ran through shadeless streets. Some offered paper cups filled with ice water or Gatorade. And everywhere the athletes went, they heard cheers: “You can do it! Don’t give up!” When the race ended, only six-percent of the participants had dropped out. The other ninety-four percent persevered and crossed the finish line against all odds. They attributed their stamina to the refreshment and encouragement that they received along the way.
Life sometimes feels like a punishing race in summer’s heat. The author of the Book of Acts wrote: “I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me.” (20:24 NIV) The course might be oppressively hot at times, and we might feel like giving up, but when we persevere with faith and trust in the Lord’s help, “[we] will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” (Jeremiah 17:18 NIV)
We Christians run life’s race through faith, not only faith in Jesus Christ, but also faith in our God-given abilities and our Christian helpers along the way. When we give of ourselves using the example of Christ, then when our race is finally over, we can say in all truth, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. (2 Timothy 4:6-8 NIV)
Today, many of us sit comfortably in our air-conditioned homes and offices and wait out the heat knowing that it will end. Others around us are miserable and in need of refreshment. This applies not only literally, but also figuratively. We all know friends and family members who are in need of finding refreshment in faith. God’s great love flows through us so that we who have been helped can help others.
Will you provide refreshment to those running a harsh and oppressive race? Reach out today. Offer them the cool, comforting love of Christ.
Dear God, Help me to help those in need of receiving your love, and when I help, deliver me from myself and from spiritual exhibitionism; for you see what is done in secret, and you know that what I do is for you. That alone is enough for me. Thank you, Lord. Amen