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We run our race, but not alone

Let us run this Christian race together, cheering each other on along the way, says David Stainer

Last weekend we saw Eliud Kipchoge become the first athlete to run a marathon in under two hours, breaking the two-hour marathon mark by 20 seconds.

Kipchoge, a Kenyan, already holds the official marathon world record which he set in Berlin in 2018. The record he set last weekend will not be recognised as an official marathon because it was not in open competition and he also used a team of pacemakers – but it is nonetheless a remarkable feat of achievement.

In his letter to the Corinthians, Paul speaks of the Christian life as a race: Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize” (1 Corinthians 924).

The difference for us, as Christians, is that our Father God has placed a calling on each of our lives and, furthermore, He equips each of us with everything we require to do His will (Hebrews 13:21). So, we are encouraged to run the Christian race, but to recognise that it is not as if we are in competition with each other because it is something we participate in together.

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One of the things that helped Kipchoge in his achievement was the support of so many different people, not only family, but his team of pacemakers, many of whom were among the best athletes in the world.

Kipchoge is a well-disciplined athlete, having won the London Marathon no less than four times. Yet, at his request, there were crowds along the route to cheer him on. After his marathon, Kipchoge spoke about the positivity of sport” and commended those who did so much to help him towards his victory.

As Christians, it is important to recognise that we have been created in God’s image to be interdependent. Paul encouraged the Christians in Galatia: Bear one another’s burdens and in this way fulfil the Law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2). This is incredibly important, especially when things are not all rosy and going as well as we might have hoped. 

Another sporting event from last weekend was the Rugby World Cup. Of the four Home Nations that were competing, sadly Scotland was knocked out by Japan. Does this mean total defeat? Does this mean they won’t compete again? Certainly not! Like other sportsmen and women, they will pick themselves up, regroup, train hard and come back again.

Japan was also the venue last weekend for the latest Formula One race and I was quite surprised that this actually went ahead given the adverse weather conditions in Japan. I love watching Formula One and it is very much a team sport. Each season the rules change slightly, which is part of the attraction. 

Often it is the same constructors and the same drivers that compete for the top spot. Having won once, is that enough? No, of course not! Like most sporting competitors, the various drivers and teams will continue to seek to develop and improve – to become better at what they do and always strive to be the best.

The same should be true for us as God’s servants in a needy world – each of us running to win that prize which is something that will last into eternity. At the same time, we are each uniquely gifted to fulfil the calling God has placed on our lives, continually giving Him the glory.

About the author

David is responsible for the day to day operation of the finance team who process all financial transactions for both the Evangelical Alliance and its trading subsidiary, the Evangelical Alliance Developments Limited. David also undertakes regular financial reporting and assists with budgetary control and forecasting. He ensures that the Alliance’s finances comply with Charity regulations and oversees the Alliance’s annual financial audit.

David is married with two children and four grandchildren. When he is not otherwise engaged with family responsibilities, he can be found at his local Anglican Church in his capacity as an ordained Associate Minister, often involved in preaching and teaching or other pastoral work.

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