Persevering Pastor is a cornucopia of musings that are meant to encourage those in ministry to not give up in the race for Christ as our prize. It comes from one who still has moments of struggle but basically is enamored by Christ's call to live for His glory.
And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. (Rom 5:3-6)
Let not those who hope in you be put to shame through me, O Lord GOD of hosts; let not those who seek you be brought to dishonor through me, O God of Israel. (Psalm 69:6)
In July of 2012 I attempted to do
the impossible. I attempted to run.When
I ran as a kid it resembled a slow motion video of a penguin losing traction
and balance. People thought I was attempting a humorous demonstration: I was
simply expressing the full limit of my athletic ability.Other than golf or fishing, athletics have
always been out of the question for me.As a matter of fact, one day while horsing around with my kids I
developed the persona, Girth, Compressor or the Davenport.However laziness is nothing to joke about.
I am convinced that the care of
one’s body is essential to representing Christ and being fully available to do
ministry.However, this belief was not
supported by works of righteousness.As it says in James, (and ill paraphrase the
Wes translation) if you say you believe but don’t back it up, you have no
proof.Also, to know what is right to do
and yet not do it, is sin.Thus, I
confess, I knew what to do but was sinning against God and my own body by being
Any excuse seemed justifiable; not
enough time, other priorities, exercises hurt, outdoor temperature, indoor
temperature, and oh something shiny….. all took priority over my need to follow
what I knew was the right direction to go.It all came to a head in the spring of 2012.While doing yard work I would become winded
and weary.My body rebelled.It wasn’t old age, it was years of
Convicted that I was not honoring
God with the physique I had been given, I developed a plan to change.This plan was not based on will power or
motivational prods, It came from scripture, thus eliminating my excuses.To overcome the lack of time to get to the
YMCA,I calculated that I could at least run the length of my street each
day.That way, if I had a heart attack
in the process someone could find my limp body.I set a date to begin and a goal of finishing one mile.
While at Southern Seminary that
fateful July day I began to run.Donning
my Saucony running shoes, orange t-shirt and not so embarrassing running
shorts, I took off for the student athletic center. Wanting to avoid injury, I
rode the elevator to the third floor running track.It was now or never: I took off running.Lap one came easy, this was going to be easy.
On lap two a young child remarked loudly to his mother, “Look mom that man
looks like a penguin who’s gonna fall.”By
lap four I was gasping, lap six had me trembling.Lap seven never arrived.
This experience opened my eyes to
how neglect can creep up on a person, how excuses are easier to contrive than
beneficial living, and that obedience to God would be costly. I was down cast, but not defeated.Defeat would be to quit. I found that God was
encouraging me through the scriptures to press on, to trust and obey.
Thus, day after day for months, I
would attempt some sort of run. Some days
were harder than others.At times my
asthma would kick in.Other days found the
euphoria that athletes draw upon as inspiration to press on.And as I obeyed God and ran, I found
parallels to the Christian walk in my successes and failures.Every effort to run needed the help of God
for my attitude, my values, and my heart worship of striving to exercise for
Two days ago, I ran my first ever
5K, and did not die. I was passed by a
woman with two canes, a 400 pound man who was gasping like a fish, 3 women with
strollers, and a chain smoker.I have
never been fast.But this slow motion
penguin ran the race in 42:57, finishing in the 1205th place, 49th
for his division.
Looking back, these last several
months taught me many things. As a matter of fact, the journey from oxygen deprivation
to race finisher has opened my eyes to spiritual truths.These truths are not just analogies; they are
simple evidences of God at work.
·I ran that God be glorified.This is the greatest reason to run.
·Excuses are easy, obedience is hard.
·There are days that everything is against you,
facing the opposition is where God is most glorified.
·It is God who gives the strength to press on,
you learn to love Him more when you abide in this truth.
·Some days it is best to rest, we don’t have to run
·To reach the goal of running a 5K I had to work
through failures.Likewise, when we put
off bad habits and put on new ones there will be setbacks and failures.We cannot let this distract us.
·The true goal was not to run a 5K, or to even
walk it.The goal was obedience.Too often we idolize goals rather than enjoy
the simple pleasures of obeying God on a daily basis.
·The race you run is not to be compared to
others.The winner of the 5K ran it in
16 minutes.My race was to do my utmost
with the body and abilities I have been given.God holds us accountable to glorify Him with what we have been given,
not with what we do not have.
·My race isn’t over. Like fighting sin, I must
daily pursue the goal of abiding in Christ.At this point in life, I must keep on running.
·As a biblical counselor and pastor, I can learn
from my struggles to obey God in order to help others in their struggles to
·Obedience brings humility, thereafter; success
brings you closer to God.
Press on for the upward call of Christ.My next race is in October, I hope to finish
another 5K in under 40 minutes.