Running, as a sport, has been around a long time. Running, as a passion here in the US, comes from the West Coast, specifically Oregon, with names like Steve Prefontaine to name a few. Interestingly enough, the distance runner and the obsession with a marathon came from Greek history and mythology. The history is that in 490 BC, a battle occurred between Greece and Persia, with the Athenian army defeating the Persians in the fields of Marathon, approximately 26 miles north of Athens. Upon the victory, a man named Pheidippides ran back to Athens to announce the victory in the mid-summer heat. When he ran in, he yelled, "Nike!" which was Greek for "victory" or "we have conqueured." Upon making the announcement, he fell dead as the mythology goes. (Go ahead, Google it. I did. I remember the story of the marathon and Nike! but wanted to get it right.)
Fast forward to the running boom starting in the 1960s, and Phil Knight, a University of Oregon track athlete, and his coach, Bill Bowerman, began selling shoes for a company they named "Blue Ribbon Sports" selling mostly Japanese made shoes. You know where this is going as the running craze in the 1970s brought about a company in Oregon that changed the name to Nike! and the rest is history.
I love the sport of running, especially in the Olympics, because of participation in the sport via runs such as 10Ks, half-marathons, and a few marathons. Life, itself, is a marathon that is a sport of endurance. It is easy to grow weak in a marathon, to be tempted to quit, even in training for the event, because of the sacrifices being made while you train. I was never even close to getting a medal in the event, finishing toward the back of the pack where they time you with calendars, but I loved running.
Paul talks to us about running and endurance. In 2 Timothy, he speaks in analogy as he says, "For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears, they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me, but also to all who have loved his appearing." (4:3 - 8)
It is by far easier to turn to what we want to hear rather than what we need to hear. It is easier not to endure and live by the truth, and we all succumb at points in life to varying degrees. We praise God for his Son Christ who overcomes that weakness we have and who restores us. We thank God for Christ being with us on this race of endurance we call life and ask that we turn to him often for strength, renewal, and guidance. We also turn to him for forgiveness and grace on this marathon of life.
Hope Men's Ministry