One October evening in 1968, a group of die-hard spectators remained in the Olympic stadium in Mexico City to watch the last finishers of the marathon. An hour before, Mamo Wolfe of Ethiopia had won the race. It was getting cold and dark and the remaining spectators began to leave, when suddenly they heard the sound of sirens and police whistles coming into the stadium. As they watched in amazement, one last runner made his way onto the track for the last laps of the 26 mile race – it was John Akhwari of Tanzania.
His leg was bandaged and bleeding after a fall but he refused to let it stop him. Suddenly, the people in the stadium rose to applaud him across the finishing line. As he hobbled his way back to the changing room, he was asked why he had not quit since he had no chance of winning a medal. He said, “my country didn’t send me here to start the race, but to finish it.”
On Sunday evening just this week our good friend, Matthew Barnett of the Dream Center in LA, completed the World Marathon Challenge: 7 Marathons -7 Continents – 7 days. During the fourtg Marathon, he sustained a knee injury that normally would have prevented anyone from walking any further let alone running another three marathons on three continents. He kept going as promised and has become a living legend, raising more than $1 million for the Dream Center.
He spoke of going through the worst pain that he’d ever felt yet continually said that he would not give up – he didn’t.
What an attitude! He looked beyond the pain of the moment and kept his eye on the purpose for which he was there.
Our job is not just to start, but to finish strong in life.
No matter what challenges you are facing today, stay strong and don’t quit.
2 Timothy 4:7-8 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day – and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.
A daily devotion for a better way of living.