Recently I was walking through the Atlanta airport when a voice came over the speaker system welcoming all military and thanking them for their service. Few things move me more. Working together, supporting one another, being a team are essential concepts of God’s kingdom and of His heart. Consider this picture to feel what this is like.
The Lord reminded me of the races I used to run. I’ve run 5Ks, 15Ks, and even three marathons. The spirit of camaraderie in these races always touched me deeply.
Always the day before a race was an expo where you picked up your race packet which included your bib number, timing chip, tech shirt, samples of snack bars, sports creams and other free goodies. I loved to watch the variety of people coming into these expos — moms with young kids, businessmen, mechanics, doctors, teachers, policemen — many ofthem dressed in their uniforms or suits having come straight from work. There were people from all walks of life, racial/socioeconomic backgrounds, every size, every shape, every age… every type of person you could imagine.
However, on the day of the race everyone would appear the same. Same in the sense that we all were in our running gear now, ready to run. Oh, there were always a few who dressed up in pink tutus and usually there was a group of firefighters in full gear. One time someone came dressed in a banana costume and another time I witnessed a juggler who juggled throughout an entire marathon. But aside from their external appearances, they all came for one reason — to run the race.
Now unless you’ve run a race it’s a little hard to completely describe the atmosphere. There’s such a spirit of unity (especially when you’ve all been there since 4am!). After the National Anthem is over and the starting gun sounds, multitudes flow in sync down the road. There’s cheering for one another and a merging of missions, “You can do this!” “Don’t stop!” “Let’s go!” “One more mile!”
Occasionally I’ve seen people fall down in the midst of the pack, yet fellow runners patiently stop and make sure they’re okay. Kindness and togetherness gets forged into a common goal. Fathers and sons run side-by-side, sisters and brothers link arms for strength, friends and colleagues inspire one another on.
Encouragement fills the air! You see, we all have the same objective. We’re all running to finish the race. Heb.12:1 says, “…since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses…let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. “ Frequently after finishers cross the finish line, rather than going to rest they stand and encourage the rest of the runners as they cross. I have a feeling heaven must look like a giant finish line with family, friends, and like kin clapping and shouting for us.
Is this not the picture of the Body of Christ? Are we not all equal in His sight? Are we not all on our respective paths heading for the same finish line—that we might know Him?
All of us are running a race. We may look different, speak different, and even believe slightly different, but the goal is one and the same — to win the Prize, God Himself. (Phil. 3) So let us put off our “clothes” we wear for what we do and simply join together for who we are, His beloved children. That, my friend, is unity.