Wes Thompson of Cheyenne Wells, CO shares the following true story, entitled “Finishing Well”.
At 7pm on October 20, 1968, a few thousand spectators remained in the Mexico City Olympic Stadium. It was cool and dark. The last of the marathon runners, each exhausted, were being carried off to first-aid stations. More than an hour earlier, Mamo Wolde of Ethiopia – looking as fresh as when he started the race – crossed the finish line, the winner of the 26-mile, 385-yard event.
As the remaining spectators prepared to leave, those sitting near the marathon gates suddenly heard the sound of sirens and police whistles. All eyes turned to the gate. A lone figure wearing the colors of Tanzania entered the stadium. His name? John Stephen Akhwari. He was the last man to finish the marathon. His leg bloodied and bandaged, severely injured in a fall, he grimaced with each step. He hobbled around the 400-meter track.
The spectators rose and applauded him as if he were the winner. After crossing the finish line, Akhwari slowly walked off the field without turning to the cheering crowd.
In view of his injury and having no chance of winning a medal, someone asked him why he had not quit. He replied, “My country did not send me 7,000 miles to start the race. They sent me 7,000 miles to finish it.”
Christians in the latter part of the 1st century had experienced great persecution and loss because of their stand for Christ (10:32-34) so the author of the book of Hebrews encourages and challenges them (and us) with these words (10:35-39): “So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. For in just a little while, ‘He who is coming will come and will not delay. But my righteous one will live by faith. And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him’ (Habakkuk 2:3-4). But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved.”
Persevere: “to continue in a course of action even in the face of difficulty or with little or no prospect of success.” It means to keep going Straight Ahead: Imua for Jesus! Do not throw away your confidence. Keep your eyes focused on Jesus.
As Christians we have not experienced death for the cause of Christ, yet there is increasing push back against Christianity. If you stand for Jesus, you are considered naive and foolish. Will you surrender to the pressure of political correctness? Will you embrace what the government embraces, even if it is contrary to Scripture? Or will you stand tall and strong for Jesus? He did not call you to Start the race. He called you to Finish it!
This Sunday, May 2, we will continue our new teaching series, “A Brand New You!”, in the 10:35am worship service. This week’s wonderful truth? You are Set Free and Sanctified! Please do not miss it!
This Sunday is Communion Sunday so come prepared to celebrate Christ’s glorious sacrifice on Calvary’s cross. We will also enjoy a special treat in honor of May Day: Everyone in attendance will receive a lei created by Rosemary Haena. Plus Roy Nakashima and his ukulele group will share a song in honor of the occasion.
The following Sunday, May 9, is Mother’s Day. I invite all of you ladies to join us that day. You will receive a gift plus be encouraged by a message just for you from Shirley Ashpole. She is a wife and mother and will encourage and inspire you – ladies, men and children of all ages.
If you are not able to join us in person in the building at 10:35am for worship, please join us Online for the Live broadcast on Facebook (Search: Honolulu AG). It will be uploaded later that day to our website (honoluluag.org) and YouTube channel (Search: Honolulu Assembly of God).
Aloha and Aloha ke Akua!