So, I now have a series of entries about bib numbers and Bible verses. Tonight we had our first time trial in preparation for the rest of the marathon training season. I ran a 12:31. Just one second of the time I had suggested to a fellow runner as we stood at the start. It was another four seconds faster than the last one I ran. There was no one right on my tail. And I occasionally had to yell track or run around a person. Hopefully next time I'll break 12:30.
With the blessing of my fastest time yet (on a hot and humid evening), I decided to look for more inspiration in a Bible verse or two. Tonight, I turned to Romans 12: 3 and 1. Here are the two verses:
12:3 For by the grace given to me I tell everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than one ought to think, but to think soberly, each according to the measure of faith that God has apportioned.
12:1 I urge you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, your spiritual worship.
Why did these two strike me as interesting for this evening.
First, 12:3--it is a reminder that I ran the fastest time tonight but that that doesn't make me any better than anyone else in any other way. I am just another person trying to do my best. All my fellow runners in the Charm City Run training group are trying to do their best. What each of us can achieve varies with our natural talent, years of training, motivation, and so many other things. All my faster time shows is that I'm faster. That is an important thing to remember.
Second, 12:1--I am not urging my bothers. I am being urged by Paul. My body is a living sacrifice. Hopefully pleasing to God. Being used in a way that God approves of and that God appreciates. That God sees as a way to inspire others. To get others to take themselves, their capacities, their abilities, and their faith seriously so that they can move ahead. I've never really thought of myself as inspiring others, but when you happen to be the first one around, you suddenly become the person to whom others look as a benchmark and as someone to try to catch. I simply hope that others see what I do and see their opportunity to do the same.