8th September 2016
‘...let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith...’
Did you enjoy watching the Olympics over the summer? I find it hard not to get drawn into the drama, to share the joy of success and the heartache of failure, sometimes by the smallest of margins. I particularly enjoyed the wonderful spectacle of these Olympics, with those wide-angle shots of Christ the Redeemer towering over the vast city of Rio. And I am always amazed at the commitment and dedication of the competitors, each with a story of hidden perseverance in preparation for their big moment, the culmination of years of early morning workouts and strict diet regimes, all to achieve the goal of winning gold.
In Hebrews 12, Paul draws on the image of the sporting amphitheatre, and calls us to run the race of life with similar perseverance and determination. The verse always brings to my mind the image of an Olympic stadium, of athletes running with single-minded commitment and of crowds cheering them on. As we prayed as a staff team on Tuesday morning, I felt prompted to share a few thoughts from this famous passage in Hebrews, so rich in content.
Our team consists of many people with very different roles, some more public and upfront, others more hidden but just as vital. My first exhortation was to be clear about the call God has placed on each of our lives and the lane He has marked out for us. It is no good trying to be a long-distance runner if you are more gifted to be a sprinter. I recently heard John Mumford of the Vineyard movement quote Oscar Wilde: ‘Be yourself, everyone else is taken.’ Knowing who you are and running in the lane marked out for you is both exhilarating and fruitful. So at the beginning of this new church year, as the gun goes off for the start of another term, it is good to consider whether we are running in the right lane.
Secondly, I encouraged us all to fix our eyes on Jesus, to focus on Him, ‘the pioneer and perfecter of our faith’. Our faith begins with Jesus. He is the one who fires the gun as we stand on the starting line, who acts as our pacesetter and who cheers us on. So, as we picture the statue of Christ the Redeemer towering over the city of Rio, a symbol of Jesus’ constant presence, let us continue to follow Him with all the perseverance of an athlete preparing to win gold.
Lastly, can I encourage you all to join me this weekend at King’s when I will be sharing what I believe God is whispering to us as a church, as we begin another lap together.
Image by Artyominc - Template:Artyom Sharbatyan, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9515642
Posted by Steve Tibbert
Steve Tibbert leads King’s Church London, with sites in Catford, Downham and Lee. Over the past fifteen years the church has seen continued growth, both in size and diversity. Steve is also involved in Newfrontiers and regularly coaches other lead elders. His book, Good to Grow, was published in July 2011. He is married to Deb, and they have three sons.