“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”

It’s been said that of every ten people you know in Bible college – good, young, Christian leaders – only one will finish the race strong. That is, only one will wait for what is promised by God and remain faithful to the end. Endurance does not last when one starts the race strongly. I heard this number – 10% – when listening to a chapel by Steve Farrar. He told a story about a man named John. When John was 21 years old and in Bible College, an older, wiser man told him to stay close to Jesus every day.

“Of course, of course.”

“No, John. Stay close to Jesus every day.”

“I know.”

“Out of every ten strong Christian leaders who start the race strong, only one will finish strong.”

John, in disbelief, wrote 24 names in his bible – 24 students who had started the race strong. When John was 54 years old, only three names remained in his bible.

I want to run a good race. I want to keep my eyes on Jesus and live a good life, and die well. I will sin, but I refuse to live in sin. I won’t ignore the voice of God, because transformation is slow – very slow. There are no shortcuts to happiness and, despite our greatest efforts, there is only one way and then every other way.

Socrates lived a good life and, though I don’t know if he would confess that Jesus is Lord, he was honest in word and deed. Odysseus said, this way is hard, I will find another. But Socrates said, this way is hard, I will keep going.

As much as I would like to appear wise, I would much rather be wise. And to be wise, I think, one must look foolish. I want to be okay with looking foolish. But it’s really difficult. I’ll try to keep my eyes on Jesus, whatever that means, and endure the race.