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Relay Runner Just Quits the Race

John McArthur shares the following important lesson he learned:

I learned a vital spiritual lesson while participating in a track meet during my college years. I was running in the 4x400-meter relay at the Orange County Invitational. Our strategy was simple. The first runner, a speedy sprinter, would get as big a lead as possible right out of the starting blocks. My job was merely to run a clean lap without dropping the baton. Our third man and fourth man could make up whatever ground I might lose.

Our first man ran a great leg and made a perfect baton pass. I managed to finish my lap in a tight battle for first place. The third man went around the curve, came halfway down the back stretch, stopped, walked off, and sat down in the grass. The race kept going.

We thought he had pulled a hamstring or twisted an ankle. We all ran across the infield, expecting to find him writhing on the grass or at least wincing in pain. He wasn’t. He was sitting passively. We anxiously asked, “What happened? Are you hurt?” He said, “No, I’m OK. I just didn’t feel like running.”

My teammates and I responded with the same thing: “You can’t do that! Do you realize the effort we have all put into training for this? You’re not in this by yourself!”

I’ve thought often about that moment in relation to our duty as believers. We are supposed to take the truth that was handed to us by our ancestors in the Christian faith and run with it—not aimlessly (1 Cor. 9:26), but always pressing on toward the goal (Phil. 3:14)—so we can hand off the faith, intact and uncorrupted, to the next generation.

John McArthur, “Passing Down the Truth,” Ligonier.Org (7-13-18)

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