Your Vocation As A "Marathon Run"
DAY 3 OF 4
Run the Marathon of Life Marked out for You-Your Calling and Vocation
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith.” (Hebrews 12:1, 2)
A marathon is 26.2 miles. That is lot of running. The first half of the marathon is exhilarating. Miles 16-21 are the toughest part of a marathon. That is when the body feels the dehydration. I ran that 2007 Chicago Marathon. The authorities had to shut down the marathon, because it was so hot. Sadly, one runner died. The organizers ran out water. At one point I looked at the temperature reading on an office building. It read 95 degrees Fahrenheit.
Even under normal running conditions, Miles 16-21 is when cramps set in. It is painful- can be excruciatingly painful. Those are the toughest miles. It is during those times, that a runner asks the question, “Why am I doing this?” That is when all the negative words of well-meaning people begin playing on your mind. “You are going to run a marathon? Are you crazy or something?”
In those times- especially in miles 16-21, a runner has to ask the question, “Why am I running this marathon?”
Accidents can happen quite early in the race. I have seen runners slip and fall right at the beginning of the Chicago Marathon. It is the first sharp turn, that thousands of runners need to take. That is when a runner gets up, all bruised and says, “I have to run 26 miles now. Why am I doing this?”
This is a crucial question that all marathon runners need to have asked themselves, when one begins training for a marathon. “Why am I doing this?”
In marathons I have run, I have sought to raise money for a social justice cause. I ran the 2009 Boston Marathon to raise money for ministry among the poor kids of inner city Boston, and for ministry in Pune, India, which rescues girls from sexual slavery. When I began training for the Boston Marathon, each time I began a run, I would pray for the inner city kids of Boston, and against the awful business of human trafficking in India. I would pray for these girls who were rescued from sexual trafficking.
The Boston Marathon begins in Hopkinton, Massachusetts, and ends at Boylston Street in Boston. It is a very pretty run, up and down hills, through various towns. At about mile 20-21 a runner encounters the Heartbreak Hill. It is actually a series of hills. This is when runners are exhausted. The Boston Marathon can be a hot run. One does not want to be running up hills at this time in the marathon. There is reason why it is called the Heartbreak Hill!
It is at times like this that a runner often asks the question, “Why am I doing this?”
In my marathon runs, I would often remind myself of the reason behind my marathon run. I would remind myself that I am running to raise money for such-and-such cause, and would focus my thought in prayer for those girls who are rescued, and the such. In the marathon journey called Life, this is the question that one has to ask often, because life does have several Heartbreak Hills.
In the Bible this question is answered with a theological word- Calling or Vocation. The Great Marathon Runners of Hebrews 11 are people who had a “calling.” They had a “”vocation.”
How may one discover this vocation, this “calling?” The word vocation is derived from a Latin term voce, which means voice. The vocation of a person is discovered first by hearing the voice of God, and then the deep inner voice of self. These two voices, then encounter the voice that one hears of the world. The convergence of these three voices, in sequence, is what forms the “calling” and “vocation” of a person. I call this the existential encounter of three voices.
All the great marathon runners of Hebrews chapter 11 had this encounter. They encountered many heartbreak hills in their marathon runs. In spite of these they just kept running. This is what made them the great marathon runners.
Oh Lord, when I face heartbreak hills today, and tomorrow, help me to remember your voice- that calling and vocation of my life.
About this Plan
I have run 10 marathons. I teach at a Christian university- North Park, in Chicago. It is such a joy for me to enable students to find their vocation as a "marathon run." It is sad that most modern Christians live two l...
We would like to thank Rev. Dr. Boaz Johnson, Ph.D. for providing this plan. For more information, please visit: https://boazjohnson.wordpress.com/
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