7You were running well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? 8This persuasion is not from him who calls you. 9A little leaven leavens the whole lump. 10I have confidence in the Lord that you will take no other view, and the one who is troubling you will bear the penalty, whoever he is. 11But if I, brothers, still preach circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been removed. 12I wish those who unsettle you would emasculate themselves!
We’ve all heard the story of the tortoise and the hare, and that slow and steady wins the race. But how about the great race of the focused and the unfocused? A good example of this would be the Rich Young Ruler found in Matthew 19:16-22:
“Just then a man came up to Jesus and asked, ‘Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?’”
Jesus answers and lists off a couple of commandments, to which the foolish young man replies:
“’All these I have kept,'” the young man said. ‘What do I still lack?’ Jesus answered, ‘If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.’ When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.”
This man was running his race, with his own set of rules of how to win: Cross the finish line with as much stuff, and as much of an appearance of goodness as possible.
He probably didn’t start off his race that way. He probably started off as a good kid, who was learning the commandments, and was eager to make his parents, and his Lord, proud. But as he grew up, he would hear how good he was. And that got to his head. Those little words worked through him, and worked their way through the batch of dough and caused him to crave others’ approval. And he chased that approval by trying to impress others with shiny new things and his good behavior.
Thought for Today: Are you running the race that God has marked out for you to run, or are you running your own race? Cause no matter what race you are running, and no matter how you choose to run that race, there is ONE finish line (death) and one judge who will determine whether you are getting a prize or not.
Prayer for Today: Lord, please help me to be focused on what You would have me do. Help me not to look to the right or left at what others around me are doing or saying. Help me to look up at You for guidance, direction, and approval. And please help me not to hinder those who are running as well, but to be an encouragement that all things are possible in and through you. Amen.