“I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift…” Ecc 9:11 “…let us run with patience the race that is set before us” Heb 12:1
The way I see it, we are all in a race. We didn’t sign up for a race, but we are in one. You may not feel like being in one and you may drop out or not care about how you finish or if you finish. In fact, if you haven’t felt like that at some point in your life, you haven’t lived long enough.
The common Greek word for race is “stadion” which is where we get the word stadium. It is also a distance of 600 feet and thus most races were sprints. But Paul uses a different word for “race”. He uses the Greek word “agon” from which we get the word “pleasure”. OK… I was just seeing if you were paying attention. It is where we get the word “agony”.
Paul is telling us that life is not a sprint (stadion). It’s a marathon, an agony to run, but run we must and the secret to running an agonizing marathon is patience and as the next verse reveals, it will help a great deal to be looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.
What I want you to take home today is the realization that we are in a marathon of a race. It will last until we die. While there is great joy along the way, there is also considerable agony. The agony is proof that you are still in the race and there is a great cloud of witnesses both in this life and among those who have gone on before us, who are rooting for you and cheering you on. I am among those cheering for you.