Veteran evangelist Greg Godwin introduced me to the writing of Glenn Clark. In Clark’s Fishers of Men he tells the story of a former track champion now involved in ministry. The fellow was being challenged by the long term matters and not seeing the way forward for the long haul. Clark responded to the fellow’s concern:
I turned to the track captain-who, by the way, was the state champion in the low and high hurdles-and said, “Remember the secret that has helped you win many a hard-fought hurdle race in the past. As you left the marks, you didn’t look at the long row of hurdles ahead of you. If you had, you would have become discouraged before you had run ten yards; but you confined your attention to the one hurdle that was directly in front of you. And the only races you won were races where you ran each hurdle as though it were the last.
Early this week several thoughts come to mind:
1. As you leave the blocks, know that the race of life is long. Life is not a sprint; pace yourself. I’ve an acquaintance who has never had a single year that did not have significant drama. In truth, the drama of life is mostly self-imposed. Regardless of the source of life’s “drama” it is still exhausting. Live for the long haul and not the short term drama.
2. Know the race you are involved in has several obstacles. The obstacles may be human conflict, discouragement, bad choices you make for yourself and all the other things you live. Just know the hurdles are there – you may not see them yet – but they are there.
3. FOCUS on the next hurdle rather than all of the hurdles. No more important word than “Focus.” Today, what is the immediate hurdle before you? That hurdle gets all the attention! Now think about what matters could be confusing your focus on that next hurdle? Take back your focus! On one occasion Paul said, “This one thing I do.” For those of us who are a bit “attention deficit disordered” and have days where it seems that our mind is the ball in the pinball machine the concept of “this one thing I do,” is vital.
4. Run the next hurdle as though it were the last. We can live always thinking about some future date when we will finally give it our best! Give this week your very best! Give it your all! Get over this hurdle, do it now!
5. Clark did not say it, but you have to run YOUR race! There are others running today as well, those can become distractions. To be effective, a hurdler must focus on what is before him rather than on the runner beside him. Important – each person in each setting has a unique calling and a unique field in which to work. For one pastor, harvest may come easy while another may struggle. My lane of life must not become a distraction to what lies before you.
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“Not an Ostrich” Disciple-Maker’s Packet – everything you need to take care of spiritual newborns – http://truth-publications.com/?p=924
Teacher’s Resource Packet – young marrieds classes, Ephesians, and more http://truth-publications.com/?p=943