Special thanks to Joe Dan Fowler, pastor at FBC-Webb City, for inspiring this one…
Have you ever run a road race? 5K? 10K? Marathon? It’s grueling. No matter what the distance is, you’re out there, often by yourself, pushing your body to its maximum ability, demanding your heart and lungs to pump oxygen to muscles you’re stretching and straining to their absolute limit. You’re racing the clock, which never gets tired, and every other runner on the course, who always seem to be in better condition… It’s hard, and often lonely.
But then there’s the crowd.
“Therefore since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily ensnares us, and run with endurance the race that lies before us.” Hebrews 12:1
Cheering and pushing you on with the sound of their voices, there is the crowd. Shouting encouragement and urging you on to personal greatness, there is the cloud of witnesses. Every runner loves the crowd. The roar makes a difference; the cheering, the chanting, the calling of the masses give you that shot of adrenaline you need to go just a little farther, just a little faster.
Then there’s that one face, that single person you know by name. Maybe it’s a grandmother. Maybe it’s a hero or mentor you look up to. Maybe it’s someone you just can’t stand to disappoint… Whoever it is, you know them and they know you, and theirs is the only voice you need. And it makes all the difference in the world. The race is a little easier, the loneliness fades, and your body is filled with the strength to carry on. Who’s your face?
Spiritually, we’re no different. The Christian life is a marathon, not a sprint, and we need the strength of the crowd to push us on. The author of Hebrews understood this well, and he took pains to remind us that no matter how alone we might feel, every believer is running for a crowd—all of those who have gone before serve as witnesses to the faith we live out day by day.
And that should be encouragement in and of itself, but then there’s that one face, that one person who gives you strength like no other… Who is your one face? Who is the person in your life who has always been there to cheer you on? A parent? A friend? Who’s your face? If you’re struggling today, feeling spent, tired, ready to quit, focus on that face and remember how they make you feel.
Take the time to think about that and let us know in the comments. Who is it? Why? How? We’d love to know.