Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Finish Line (Mike White)

Mike White is our Director of Counseling at WCS. Several weeks ago, while administering a survey to my eighth grade classes, he told this story. I commented on its impact on me and Mike graciously put it into written form. It has a great lesson for all of us.

I was substitute teaching one semester while I waited to move to Houston to work at Westbury Christian School. One of the schools I substitute taught for was my alma mater, Central Arkansas Christian Schools. I worked one day at the high school campus. At the end of the day, the athletic director asked if I could help him out with the district track meet that was being held that evening at CAC. I agreed and was given a stop watch. What I witnessed was unbelievable. A track meet can be boring unless you are literally timing every event; then, it gets pretty exciting! The girls’ mile relay was by far the most exciting event of the evening. Two schools in the district had teams that were good enough to compete for #1 and #2 in the state. Those schools were CAC and Oak Grove HS.

On the first leg of the race, the runner from Oak Grove took a tremendous lead. You could almost hear a groan go over the home crowd. Everyone in the stands thought the race was over. The team from CAC looked as if it would take 2nd place and still qualify for the State Track Meet, but be sorely disappointed in their performance. The 2nd and 3rd legs of the CAC team made a little, yet insignificant gain on the lead. When the anchor of the CAC team was given the baton, you would have thought she was shot out of a canon. She began making huge strides and narrowed the gap. In the final stretch she overtook the runner from Oak Grove and crossed the finish line about 5 feet in front of the runner from Oak Grove. Sounds like a great ending to the story. I wish that it ended there. What happened next was hard to watch. The runner from Oak Grove was so angry about losing the race that she threw the baton on the ground….before she crossed the finish line. The rules governing the track meet clearly stated that if the baton fell to the ground, the team would be disqualified. So, the head official informed the coach about the rule and that his team was disqualified. This meant that one of the best teams for this event in the state would not be in attendance at the state track meet.

I think the lesson in this story is to never give up. No matter what circumstances surround you, don’t give up. When everything is great, don’t give up. When everything is awful, don’t give up. When you go from first to second place in a sure win, don’t give up. Paul wrote to Timothy near the end of his life. He realized that he would never be set free and would probably be executed. In 2 Timothy 4:7 he said, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” I told some of our students the other day that the ends of both semesters are the worst times of the school year. Not because of finals or the projects that are due. Simply because people get very close to the end of a task and quit without finishing. How many projects have I started around my house that have never been completed? I cannot count that high. My challenge to myself and you is to finish what God has put before us. Never give up. In all that we do, God is glorified when we “finish the race.” I am so glad He has not given up on me.

God bless,
Luke 18:1

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