I run. I don’t necessarily like running, but I like how I feel because I do run.
I happened to speak to a different ministry a while ago. The one who invited me knew that I ran and gave me a couple running books as a thank you. I recently finished one of them, The Runner’s Guide to the Meaning of Life by Amby Burfoot. It is not a Christian book but I found it interesting and somewhat anecdotal.
His chapter entitled Courage starts like this (pp 114, 115):
“When I was young, I thought courage began with a capital C. It always involved swashbuckling heroes who appeared in history books or adventure movies. Somebody usually died in these stories, but many others were saved by the hero’s Courage. Without it, Freedom or Democracy or Independence or some other word that also begins with a capital letter would have been lost.
“Growing up has changed my views on courage. I still honor our heroes, particularly those who have fought to sustain important ideals. But I’ve also come to believe that, more often than not, courage begins with a small c. And it doesn’t turn into a major book or a Hollywood marketing campaign.
“In fact, courage is available to all of us. We don’t have to be standing on the precipice of history—at a time and place when momentous social forces collide. We only have to look at ourselves full face in the mirror. Most acts of courage do nothing more than change the life of the person who summons it. Which, of course, is everything.
“I have seen many acts of courage in running. Indeed, the sport has a special appeal for those who are looking to change their lives. While running at first appears to depend on great physical strength and endurance, it is, in fact, based almost entirely on strength of mind. Those who have the will will succeed.”
As I read that, I thought immediately of what we do day in and day out. The choices we make, the decisions we choose and how we spend our time requires courage.
I am also reading Meditations on the Gospels by the 19th century Scottish preacher, George Morrison. I happened to read today his thoughts on Matthew 10:25, “It is enough for the student to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master….” NIV. He talked about how Christ experienced weariness, He was misunderstood and He longed for others to choose the Lord who never did. You know, we will experience weariness and being misunderstood and unfulfilled longings this year. But it is the kind of courage that Burfoot talks about that keep us ministering, regardless of the outcome. It is enough to be like the master.
As we live our lives this year and seek to make the greatest possible impact for Christ, let us with “small c courage” choose to trust God and be like Him, no matter the outcome. “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” Hebrews 10:24 NIV.