When She Crosses the Finish Line First

I was the slowest runner in junior high P.E. class. With my giraffe-like legs I should’ve been able to power past at least most of the girls my age. Instead, my body tromped around the track with no speed whatsoever. The coach would yell, “You’re bringin’ up the rear again!” And all I could think was, I’m moving as fast as I can.

My athletic ability didn’t change much beyond the teen years. But as an adult I found other women who would trot along beside me, content with keeping an even pace. One friend in particular joined with me and became a welcome addition to my journey.

Our strides complemented each other’s. Sometimes distance formed between us, but just for a short time. Before long we’d call out to each other to either slow down or pick up the pace. It was much easier to keep up the consistency with someone by my side.

We enjoy this life trek more when we run it together.

 

We kept in perfect sync. Until one day I looked to my left and noticed she was gone. Somehow she’d made it to the finish line before me. She reached the ultimate destination, eternity with Jesus. The grief took away the joy of ever reaching the destination. I wanted to stop running.

My pace slowed and all I could see was the quick flicks of the feet in front of me. A memory came flooding back and that voice cried out once more, “You’re bringin’ up the rear again!” And all I could think was, I’m moving as fast as I can.

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11 NIV

I used to see life as the women’s 400-meter dash individual event. That is, until I discovered the power of encouragement. Now I realize we are many women running at different paces, but all part of the same cross country team.

Some may be up ahead, and some behind. Others will stay right alongside us, swapping stories and sharing jokes to keep our minds off the pain in our shins and ankles. When one member of the team finishes the race, the other members don’t quit. They keep going.

If she crosses the finish line before me, my job is to keep running.

It’s been two years since my friend finished the race. I imagine her cheering us on as we gaze ahead unable to see all that waits for us there. So as we continue pounding our sneakers on the hot pavement today, could we swap stories and tell some jokes? Oh, and let’s all wear the same color jerseys. If I could pick, I’d choose purple.

And when we see someone losing momentum, let’s slow down a bit and jog along beside her for a while. It may be just the motivation she needs to stay in the race. Because even though our running styles may be different, we definitely have more fun running together.

 

 

Friendship means we are called to action.

Friendship means we are called to action.

“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:24-25 NIV

As we bring this series to a close, let’s review what we learned this past month about Why Friendship Is Worth the Risk.

  1. Friendship teaches us to receive.
  2. Friendship teaches us to trust again.
  3. Friendship reminds us that our small is God’s big.

If you missed any of these lessons, click on each link to take you directly to that post. I pray you found something to take away from the series – something to give you that extra boost toward building community.

I know it did for me.

In case you are still considering whether the risk involved is worth the effort it takes to build community, let’s look at one final lesson regarding friendship – a call to action.

Or shall we say, 'called' to action.

“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:24-25 NIV

 

Have I spurred someone on today?

Have I encouraged her toward good deeds by demonstrating love?

Have I met together with a friend this week?

According to the above verse in Hebrews, these things are all the more important as we approach the day of Christ’s return. God clearly directs us to make the most of every opportunity we are given while we are still here on earth, doing our part in fulfilling the Great Commission.

One friend at a time.

Yes, we are called to action. Let’s act on that call today by moving beyond the busyness of our days and making time for friendships. It’s a risk, but it’s worth it.

Kristine

Linking up with some of my favorite writers this week. Click the buttons to the right to visit these encouraging sites!