I came across this story from one of the all time great distance runners, John Stephens of Tanzania. He ran the 1964 Olympic Marathon in Mexico. From that race, the following:
Hours behind the runner in front of him, the last marathoner finally entered Olympic stadium. By that time, the drama of the day’s event was almost over and most of the spectators had gone home. This athlete’s story, however, was still being played out.
Limping into the arena, the Tanzanian runner grimaced with every step, his knee bleeding and bandaged from an earlier fall. His ragged appearance immediately caught the attention of the remaining crowd, who cheered him on to the finish line.
When asked why he stayed in the race and what made him endure his injuries to the end, he replied, “My country did not send me 7,000 miles away to start the race. They sent me 7,000 miles to finish it!’”
I thought about how this might apply to us on many levels. From our daily walk and the temptation to give in to situations and people around us. To finding the perseverance that moves us through the ups and downs of our life’s journey. Finally, it points to the message of staying the course in our spiritual life. Knowing the finish line lies ahead and that we were not sent here to simply start the race, but to finish it!
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9