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Almost…..

Life is not for sissies.  To make a positive impact in a life time takes the energy, tenacity, and the heart of a champion.  Perhaps that is the reason that so many people never really attempt very much and for the most part, they are successful at it.  Those that live in the “gray zones” of life never have great successes or tremendous losses.  Because “bland” has become the norm for their daily existence, there are never times of great exultation over a grand achievement and neither is there a time of great disappointment from failure to accomplish a task.

I was never sedate, subdued, or subtle.  From my earliest days, I have been highly energetic, enthusiastic, and outgoing which gave me many opportunities to miss recess in school for not listening in class or talking too much (can you imagine?).  Through the years, I have known people that are by nature very quiet and reserved.  Those that are truly quiet by nature were not enemies of mine, but neither were we ever truly close.  My gregarious personality loved being around people that were laughing, highly active, and occasionally, just plain crazy.

There was, however, one thing that my exasperated teachers and coaches through the years that wearied of my chatter and overly energetic activities in class would not let me do.  They refused to allow me give less than my best, or be content with mediocre, or to ever quit a project once I had started it.  Frankly, I sometimes felt that their persuasive pressure on me to persevere and to finish an assignment was a little bit too much to ask.  As I got older, how grateful I was for their “character shaping” in my life.  I was also extremely grateful that they never gave up on me.  More times that I care to remember, it would have been so easy for lots of them to step back from holding me accountable because of my bone-headed, stubborn, and often complacent attitude toward the level of achievement than they were determined to motivate me to fulfill.

On March 6, 1987, Eamon Coghlan, the Irish world record holder at 1500 meters, was running in a qualifying heat at the World Indoor Track Championships in Indianapolis. With two and a half laps left, he was tripped. He fell, but he got up and with great effort managed to catch the leaders. With only 20 yards left in the race, he was in third place — good enough to qualify for the finals. He looked over his shoulder to the inside, and, seeing no one, he let up. But another runner, charging hard on the outside, passed Coughlan a yard before the finish, thus eliminating him from the finals. Coughlan’s great comeback effort was rendered worthless by taking his eyes off the finish line. It’s tempting to let up when the sights around us look favorable. But we finish well in the Christian race only when we fix our eyes on the goal: Jesus Christ.  (Copied).

Once a person begins to coast, the losses begin to increase.  We were not made to “get by”.  We were made in the image of God and He does all things “exceeding, abundantly above all that we could ask or think”.  God does not have a “second-hand” store.  He does not provide second-hand blessings.  He made it clear we are to live an “abundant life” and to be expectant for His return for us.  We are to live “pressing on” and not looking back over our shoulder to see if we can “let up”.  “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:62).