This morning, I looked at each one of the beautiful pictures that our photographer and friends captured at last year’s 5k graduation race. This coming Saturday marks another milestone in the ministry in Warner Robins, GA, ten members will cross the finish line of their first 5k.
This is our 8th season in the 5k challenge. Each season is a blessing of God’s presence in Run for God. The excitement never changes for those who have completed their training and continue meet their goal of completing their first 5k race. I am overwhelmed with so much gratitude from our Father for leading each of us through this journey and keeping us all committed to the race.
Each season definitely has been full of hills and valleys, but seeing each member persevere and cross the finish line makes it all worth while. Standing back and watching everyone cheer, slap hands, hug one another with tears of happiness and accomplishment as they meet their friends and family members at the finish line is always a beautiful sight to see. Doesn’t it make you wonder how our friends and family will greet us in heaven? Oh, what a glorious day!
Every season brings a dynamic group of personalities that shine like stars. Each member is full of spark, encouragement, motivation and support for one another. It does not take long for friendships to develop and bonds to be created. Each member pairs up, reaches out, motivates each other and encourages one another to push through each workout. I believe that this is when they start to understand true accountability of the physical and spiritual race. More importantly, each one of these amazing individuals all have an incredible story–all different, but are truly beautiful testimonies of how God is working in their lives. One commonality that everyone shares in the end is that we all want to give God all of the glory in our accomplishments because without HIM, we could not have completed the challenge. One thing I tell everyone in the challenge is that God has given each of you the desire to start the race, the next step is completely up to you.
One of my favorite quotes says just that, “The journey to God begins with one small step. After that, one step at a time. He doesn’t expect us to run the mile, but He promises to give you the strength to go the distances.” (Unknown) To me, the journey to the graduation race was so much more meaningful than finishing race itself. At the end of each season, there are many that long for the fellowship again (including me), but I know that there is always another season and another lesson that awaits. A lesson of learning the importance of recognizing that Christianity is a team event, not solo; learning to stretch ourselves, and help others stretch in the process. Most importantly, learning to become others minded by watching out for each other and leaving no one behind. (Read Ephesians 4:11-16)
It seems to me that God has given this ministry time for each of us to create a sense of unity and to better equip one another to not only finish the race, but to grow and become teachers and disciples, so that the body of Christ may be built up in those around us and in ourselves. Let us not forget that relationships that are developed and mended as a result of our spiritual journey together during Run for God.
I believe it is important to continue to share our stories to expand our Christian fellowship by reaching out to others and invite them into this incredible ministry and allow them to experience the personal and spiritual growth we have been so blessed to know. It is now up to us to share our story of personal growth and experience with our churches and communities, so that men, women and children can grow physically and spiritually stronger. It is my belief that this newfound growth that allows them to be more mature parents, spouses, leaders, and most importantly Christians.
After all if we cultivate the soil of men and women and nurture their physical state the spiritual seeds, the Church plants will grow and become splendid vine like the seedlings in Ezekiel 17:8, “It had been planted in good soil by abundant water so that it would produce branches, bear fruit and become a splendid vine.”
I will pray that each of you look deeper than your race experience and remember the seedlings that have been planted in your good soil that you have spent these many months cultivating and help Run for God continue to grow and flourish as it had helped each of us grow and flourish. As a supporting ligament of the body of Christ what role will you play in this growth?