Friday, November 30, 2012

The Home Stretch

A long time ago in high school I ran track. As a sprinter, I loved the 100 and 200 (it was 220 yards back then). But occasionally, my coach asked me to run the 1/4 mile (i.e., the 440 yard dash—a couple of steps longer than the 400 meters in today's track meets).

My track team from 1985. I'm a junior. Third from the left on the bottom row.
It was brutal! One lap around the track at full speed. I can remember what it was like to turn the final corner and see the finish line. Back then they would stretch "the tape" across the finish line and the winner got the privilege of "breaking the tape." So there it was, the tape just glimmered there at the end of the home stretch. My legs would be burning, my lungs hurting, and every muscle in my body strained forward for that tape. Interestingly, it is in the last 100 yards (or, um...meters) that the race is usually won or lost. That’s where you find out two things: who has the best training and who has the most determination. No matter how much I was hurting or how far I was behind, the thought of quitting was out of the question! “What, after I have come so far? Are you crazy?” I rarely finished first, but the satisfaction of knowing I had given it my all was worth more than a blue ribbon or medal.
In case you're wondering, that's not me--it's the
very humble Usain Bolt breaking the tape.

The Journey 2012 is now in the home stretch. I can see the tape. We have one more month. I try not to whine, but this has been the most difficult year of teaching for me in my life! Just the reading alone has been tough. If you struggle to read the average 23-or-so chapters each week, I get to read them multiple times and then read what the various commentaries say! Don't get me wrong, I've loved it. But those of you at Providence know how hard it is for me to speak concisely. Imagine trying to do that while teaching entire books (vis. 1 and 2 Corinthians as we’re doing this week! Impossible! It took us over 2 years to cover these books before!).

I’m chuckling as I notice I haven’t written a blog post since September! It’s just been too busy. The Journey has been great—perhaps the best thing we’ve ever done together as a church! The last month’s material (most of the New Testament!) is the focus of 80% of the sermons of most evangelical preachers and churches! And we’re going to cover it in 5 Sundays!? Insane.

Hang in there. If you've given up, just read the book of 1 Corinthians. 2 Corinthians is on the plan for next week. We can see the tape at the finish. Let’s all be able to say in 31 days, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2Tim. 4:7). It has been awesome. But I can’t wait to celebrate once things are finished!

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