Let’s Finish the Race
Two are better than one . . . . If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. Ecclesiastes 4:9–10
In the 2016 Rio Olympics, two athletes in the 5,000-meter race caught the world’s attention. About 3,200 meters into the race, New Zealander Nikki Hamblin and American Abbey D’Agostino collided and fell. Abbey was quickly up on her feet, but stopped to help Nikki. Moments after the two athletes had started running again, Abbey began faltering, her right leg injured as a result of the fall. It was now Nikki’s turn to stop and encourage her fellow athlete to finish the race. When Abbey eventually stumbled across the finish line, Nikki was waiting to embrace her. What a beautiful picture of mutual encouragement!
It reminds me of a passage in the Bible: “Two are better than one . . . . If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up” (Eccl. 4:9–10). As runners in a spiritual race, we need one another—perhaps even more so, for we are not racing in competition with each other but as members of the same team. There’ll be moments where we falter and need someone to pick us up; at other times, someone may need our encouragement through our prayers or presence.
The spiritual race is not to be run alone. Is God leading you to be a Nikki or Abbey in someone’s life? Respond to His prompting today, and let’s finish the race!
Dear Lord, thank You for the encouragement of fellow believers to help me on my journey. Help me to look for ways to encourage others.
We need each other to get where God wants us to go.
Ecclesiastes is a very unusual book. For much of this inspired text, life is examined without God in the picture (1:2). Although the book concludes with moral admonitions (see 12:1–8), the majority of the book has almost a secular feel to it. Yet because King Solomon the Wise is its author, remarkable principles of life surface. Today’s reading blesses the reader with insights on the benefits of meaningful relationships. The journey of life is not to be walked alone but benefits from mutual support of another.
Can you recall a time when God used someone to help you carry your load?
And now, here I am this day, eighty-five years old. As yet I am as strong this day as on the day that Moses sent me; just as my strength was then, so now is my strength for war, both for going out and for coming in. Joshua 14:10b-11
Seniors are working longer, living longer, retiring later, and even going back to work after they retire. For some, retirement begins a downhill path in terms of health, joy, impact, and mental stimulation. Too few seniors “come to the grave at a full age, as a sheaf of grain ripens in its season” (Job 5:26).
Caleb was not such a senior. The Bible says in his 85th year he was as strong as he was 45 years earlier when Moses sent him, along with Joshua and 10 other men, to spy out the land of Canaan (Numbers 13). All the men were likely fit at age 40—after all, they had just walked from Egypt through the wilderness to Kadesh. But how many were just as fit 45 years later? Perhaps Caleb was inspired by Moses who died at 120 years: “His eyes were not dim nor his natural vigor diminished” (Deuteronomy 34:7). Our senior years should be as fruitful and productive as our younger years.
Be a good steward of your health. Plan on being able to serve God faithfully until He calls you home.
Do not regret growing older. It is a privilege denied to many. Anonymous