My son is participating in Special Olympics speed skating competition this weekend. Yes, the son that had open heart surgery at six months of age, born with club feet and cognitive disabilities. He started with a tentative shuffle and learned how to step and glide with the boots holding his ankles firm and secure. The doctors had said not to shelter him but instead let him try to do whatever he can. It has been a long road to get to where we are. I could never have dreamed of the places we would go or the people we would meet in our journey with special needs.
Special Olympics involves a huge community of family, friends, coaches,volunteers, and sponsors that come together for sport, encouragement, healthy living and teamwork with a positive attitude. There is no “I can’t” and lots of “you can do it”. Milestones are recorded and progress is acknowledged. Everyone tries their best but many strive for the gold!
The apostle Paul used the analogy of sports and “running the race” several times in his letters.
24 Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win!25 All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize.26 So I run with purpose in every step. 1 Cor 9:24-26 (NLT)
For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. Phil 4:13 (NLT)
There are many things in life that can be challenging. Studying for exams is one example. Beloved evangelist and professor at the Word of Life Bible Institute, Wendell Calder, challenges and encourages the students every year by having them memorize this rally cry,
“ I will not quit. By God’s grace I can do it.”
What would our churches look like if we all worked together as a team? What if we all disciplined ourselves in reading and studying God’s word – our rule book and guide to life? What if we encouraged each other during the highs and lows of life with compassion and persistence? Would our congregation look and feel different if we welcomed people of all abilities?
What if I tried my best everyday? What if instead of making excuses I looked up and trusted God to be there in the middle of my mess.
There’s a joke about a lady praying, “Lord, its been a beautiful day so far and I am so grateful. But in a minute I will be getting out of bed and I don’t know what’s going to happen so I’m going to need your help…”
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.2 We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, Heb 12:1-2
We can transform the place where we live by the power of God’s spirit. We can share His compassion, faithfulness, mercy and hope for tomorrow with the people in our lives.
Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise.24 Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.25 And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near. Heb 10:23-25
Each day is a new start……Run well…..