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Athletes as well as dedicated individuals that consistently exercise to stay in top physical condition are respected by everyone.  Those that share their passion for physical fitness know the discipline required to maintain a work-out routine constantly.  And those of us not so inclined know that we should be more committed in the quest to be fit.

There are so many varied exercise and health options today that truly everyone can engage in some form of daily exercise.  Walking is my choice.  And, every time I walk, someone breezes past me because their choice is to be a runner. I have noticed that runners have a strong muscular development, and are “lean, mean running machines”.  Those folks have a passion that is remarkable.  Most of them, I suppose, run to prepare for the next race where they compete against their previous best time to see how much they are improving.

Paul, the Apostle, loved sports.  He often referred to sporting events in his illustrations to show Christians the parallels between physical fitness and spiritual fitness.  Being spiritually fit enables us to be sure we are “running the race” toward Jesus so we finish well……

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  (Hebrews 12:1-2).

A world-class woman runner was invited to compete in a road race in Connecticut. On the morning of the race, she drove from New York City, following the directions — or so she thought — given her over the telephone. She got lost, stopped at a gas station, and asked for help. She knew that the race started in the parking lot of a shopping mall. The station attendant also knew of such a race scheduled just up the road and directed her there.

When she arrived, she was relieved to see in the parking lot a modest number of runners preparing to compete. Not as many as she’d anticipated; an easier race than she’d been led to expect. She hurried to the registration desk, announced herself, and was surprised by the race officials’ excitement at having so renowned an athlete show up for their race. No, they had no record of her entry, but if she’d hurry and put on this number, she could just make it before the gun goes off. She ran and, naturally, she won easily, some four minutes ahead of the first male runner in second place.

Only after the race–when there was no envelope containing her sizable prize and performance money– did she confirm that the event she’d run was not the race to which she’d been invited. That race was being held several miles farther up the road in another town. She’d gone to the wrong starting line, run the wrong course, and missed her chance to win a valuable prize.        (D. Bruce Lockerbie, Thinking and Acting Like A Christian, p. 52.).