Running, like other sports, involves competition. Most of the time we are competing with ourselves, striving to get better, to improve. Then there are the races where we compete with others. While I am under no illusions about my chances to actually WIN a race, I like to measure my finishing time against my past times and against others my age. A few weeks ago I wrote about how Paul urged us to run in such a way as the win the prize. This isn't about winning a medal as much as it is about giving our best effort in preparation. Competing with one another can also be a way of pushing ourselves harder toward improvement. This is what we do as a team, we encourage each other to keep pushing. Sometimes though, competition can be harmful. When we become self focused, considering only our own needs and desires, the concept of competition is no longer healthy. Unfortunately, in our society, it is not only acceptable, but encouraged, for one to focus on themselves. So when we see an example of selflessness, especially in the competitive arena, it gets attention. One such instance took place in December 2012 at a cross-country race in Burlada, Spain. Kenyan Able Mutai was in first place as he approached the finish line. When he crossed what he thought was the finish, he began to slow. Ivan Fernanzez Anaya, a Spanish runner, was right behind Mutai and realized that he had stopped short of the finish. Instead of passing and winning the race, Anaya motioned for Mutai to keep going and let him finish in first place. After the race Anaya said, "I didn't deserve to win it. I did what I had to do. He was the rightful winner." What a great example of selflessness. That kind of attitude is so refreshing in our me first society and it's the way the Bible says that we should treat one another. Psalm 119:36 "Turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain. James 3:16 " For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice." Philippians 2:3 " Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves." So, go ahead, push yourself to improve, compete, but don't let your competition become selfishness. Remember to "in humility value others above yourself."
If you would like to join with others who will push you to improve, join us for a run this week. On Wednesday we will meet at noon at the Springfield entrance to Pre's Trail. (the parking lot at the corner of Aspen and D streets). On Saturday we will meet at 9 am at Weyerhauser Road (Bob Straub Parkway and 57th Street) and on Sunday we will meet at 3 pm at Clearwater trail.
The Eugene Holiday Hustle Half Marathon, 10K and 5K will be held Saturday, December 19th beginning at 9:15 am. The cost for the 5K or 10K is $20 and the Half Marathon is $55. There is also a team competition. If you are interested in running any of these races, shoot me an email. If there is enough interest, we will try to put a team together, otherwise we can simply encourage one another.
Have a great week! Pastor John