Friday, August 29, 2008

The Human Race: Running at a Different Pace

In a world of winners and losers,
Some are used, some are the users;
It’s a push and shove race
Of trying to get ahead.
In the dust of all the confusion
We make a choice, Truth or illusion;
Will we listen to lies,
Or hear what the Father says?

I started listening to some of Steven Curtis Chapman's music today that was popular over a decade ago. It's funny how my young brain had memorized almost every word of his songs, but how it was only now that my adult brain could grasp what he was communicating.

We are running in a human race,
Where nobody wants to settle for second place;
But we’ve got to run it at a different pace,
‘Cause the first will be last and the last will be first
At the end of the human race.

I remember loving "The Human Race" from childhood, but what struck me today was the important message that winning the prize of Jesus Christ demands that we slow down in our race of pursuing personal success.

In a day when values are changing,
What kind of ground are we really gaining;
Who are we trying to serve by going the extra mile.
We can’t trade the Truth for the fashion;
We’ve got to live a life of compassion,
And those we touch are the prize
That waits at the finish line.

And then I had this mental image in my mind of the whole world racing and I thought of all of the types of people who would finish last - those on crutches, those in wheel chairs, those who can't see, those debilitated, the young children and the mentally ill who may even run the opposite way of the finish line. I realized that here, among the destitute, among those who cannot of their own strength do anything, dwells the heart of a God who cares exceedingly for the orphan and the widow.

That is why the prize of being with Jesus can only be won at the end of the human race; for it is at the end of the human race where we find Jesus himself.

This thought gave me consolation, because Grandpa was in need of much assistance today. As Mom and I wheeled him into the hospital this morning, it was hard to not sense that most people wondered why we were caring for a man who seems to barely be alive.

As a community of Christians, in the multitudes of ways that we individually fulfill the call of caring for the destitute, it is good to be asked, "Why do you slow down your potential, and interests and dreams to care for a person in need?"

I think we ought to say that we make it our aim to finish the human race last and that we purpose to finish this human race pushing folks in wheel chairs, carrying children piggy-back, and guiding the blind.


Because here, at the end of the human race, we find the dwelling of our Almighty God who has purposed to dwell among the lowly (Isaiah 57:15).

I don't think God runs too often at the front of the pack.