By Dan Polecheck
Blessed are all who fear the Lord,
who walk in obedience to him.
You will eat the fruit of your labor;
blessings and prosperity will be yours. Psalm 128:1-2
It was a beautiful spring day, just before the end of the school year and it was time for conference track meet. The runners were lined up for the longest event of the day, the one mile run. With everyone poised to start, the command was heard. “On your mark, get set,” the starter’s pistol cracked and the race was on. A fit, young runner sprang into the lead leaving every one in his dust. By the end of the race he was far ahead of everyone and he broke the state record. As the other runners finished the race, it became clear that several were loosing their desire and slowing down at the finish line when they saw they could not win. Some had even dropped out in frustration.
The field crew was bringing out the hurdles for the next event, when one of the judges yelled, “Get those hurdles off the track. Not all the runners have finished yet. Look!” And around the last turn came a runner, wheezing, sucking wind and staggering. The crowd stood in disbelief as he struggled over the last hundred yards, fell just short of the finish line and literally crawled across the line, collapsing, his face landed on the cinder track. One of the judges ran to the runner, helped him to a sitting position, and wiped the blood from his face.
“Son, why didn’t you stop? Why are you even in the mile race anyway?”
Between gasps, the boy explained that his school had a good miler, but he had gotten sick just hours before. His coach had promised the fans and the team he would have a person in every event. He had asked the boy to run the mile even though he had never run that distance before.
The judge asked, “Why didn’t you just drop out when you saw how far behind you were?”
The boy answered, “Judge, Coach didn’t ask me to quit. He didn’t ask me to win. He asked me to run the mile, and I ran it!”
How many people stop doing what they know God put them here to do, usually long before they get close to completing the task? Too many times, the joy of the Lord which is a natural expression of the Spirit’s work in our lives is unfortunately missing. Many different studies that compared the lives of Christians and unbelievers have shown that there is relatively little difference between the two. There was a time when Christians told the world to stop sinning, tragically, now sometimes it’s the world telling the church to stop sinning. What a sad commentary on the church of today.
Our lives as believers, should be different because we have God living in us. The Holy Spirit works in us and through us to produce fruit. How can we live in this Spirit and taste of this fruit of the labor without our lives changing? Valid question. The fruit of the Spirit shouts of the workings of the Holy Spirit within the lives of Christians.
How about you? How many times have you “dropped out” of doing God’s work and missed out of the fruits of the Spirit? How many times have you missed out on the love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control and other fruits that only God and the Holy Spirit can deliver to you?