The Big Race

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If you have ever ran in a race, you know that in order to run the race you need to practice, practice, and practice. There are no short cuts, no quick track to preparation. You need to invest the time, make the time, run the time, and then recover in time. I remember still when I had the privilege in running in a 4-man relay in the New York City sponsored youth Olympics. We were selected by our peers to represent our youth organization. Nelson was a senior and was part of the track and field team in his school. He put us on a regiment. We started slowly. Then gradually we ran in cross-country events. We practiced the handoff of the baton for the relay. Finally the day came for the big race. Ralph, one member of the team didn’t practice as much. He declared, “I got it”. He was the fastest member of his school’s track and field.

The day came; Ralph would lead the first leg of the two-mile relay. I was assigned to be the second leg, my brother the third leg, and Nelson our captain would be the anchor. 8 teams came to the starting line. The gun went off and the race started. Ralph looked good; in fact he looked very good, on the first lap. Then came his second quarter mile lap. He turned from a rabbit into a turtle. Every team passed him and we were about two hundred yards behind. I now had the baton. I remembered our practice drills. Run your own race. Breathe, pace yourself, and get into your rhythm. The first lap went well, I was now about 100 yards behind the runners. On the second lap, I was about 25 yards behind the runners. When I passed the Baton to my brother, we were still behind, but closing. On my brothers first lap he caught up and now was in the middle of the pack. On the second lap, he broke free and dashed the last 100 yards when he passed the baton to Nelson. I could not believe it. We were now in the lead. One of the other teams took off in a sprint and passed Nelson. But he didn’t worry. He remembered the practice. Run your own race. After the first lap the front-runner ran out of gas. Nelson passed the runner and kept running. His lead became a 25-yard lead, then a 50 yard lead, then a 100 yard lead, then a 150 yard lead. Nelson went from a rabbit to a roadrunner. Then came the celebration as he passed the finished line.

Those that practiced did well in the big race. But those that didn’t crashed and burned in the end. Very often many have the same approach when it comes to their relationship with God. They think that they can have a one-minute reading through the Bible, and have a deep relationship with God. Many think that they can have a one-minute prayer life and have a deep connection with God. Many think that they can come late to church, and leave early before the closing hymn, and tell themselves that they had a deep experience with God. Who are they trying to convince? In order to have a close relationship with God there are certain factors.

If you want a deep relationship with Christ, you need to make the time and read the Bible. As you read, you begin to understand God is a meaningful way. He speaks to us through His word. He gives us direction from the Scriptures; He lets us know when we are on a path of sin from His word. When we don’t make the time, we lose out in the race of life. Don’t let other factors hoard your time; make the time.

“Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me” John 5:39 “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 timothy 2:15

If you want a deep connection with Christ, you need to spend time in communication with God. Prayer is that outlet. As you pray, listen. You will be surprised what God will bring to your mind. Prayer is a two way street. Ask, believe, claim, and also listen. The more you spend time with God, His direction for your life becomes more evident. It is important that you take your time with God every morning. He will make time in His appointment schedule just for you, if you take your time.

“And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13

If you want a deep experience with Christ, don’t rush your worship with Him. Very often we rush to get to church, rush to encourage the worship speaker to finish his message in church, then rush to leave church. Rush, rush, and rush. It’s the Sabbath; enjoy your worship experience. Worship is not about a selfie, it’s about Him. When we enter His presence and worship our Creator, we will have a dynamic experience.

“O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the Lord our maker.” Psalms 95:6 “But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.” John 4:23

In a race, you practice, sweat, and do everything possible to reach the finish line. “Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.” 1 Corinthians 9:24 With Christ, we run so that we can obtain a deeper, more meaningful relationship with Him. Here are some additional words of encouragement.

“It is not safe for us to turn from the Holy Scriptures with only a casual reading of their sacred pages…. Rein the mind up to the high task that has been set before it, and study with determined interest, that you may understand divine truth. Those who do this will be surprised to find to what the mind can attain.” The Youth’s Instructor, June 29, 1893. (HC 35.)

May God bless us this Sabbath as we seek His presence in our life.

Angel J. Rodriguez, D.Min
Houston Central – Senior Pastor

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