I ran a marathon this past weekend. The next morning I was a little depressed. Three months of preparation leading up to the big day and then…..
I wasn’t happy with my result, but thinking about it today I realized that even an amazing result wouldn’t have changed what I felt the next morning.
It’s pretty common to feel a letdown after a major event, especially one you’ve worked hard towards. And I’ve experienced the same feelings after every big race.
But God is always gracious. Like a loving faithful shepherd, he turns my head to face the right direction.
He reminded me that even though there are tremendous benefits to physical training, the payoffs are never guaranteed. You won’t always get a PR. Our physical bodies have limits and year by year they get weaker. Runners get slower! With some people, disease can strike seemingly out of nowhere.
But in 1 Timothy Paul reminds his spiritual son of the great eternal benefits of godliness.
“… godliness has value for all things…”
“…there is great gain in godliness with contentment…”
Yes, I’m not guaranteed the result I trained for. Yes, I will get slower. Yes, my physical body will get weaker. But, I can still reap real spiritual lessons from every outcome of every race. And these lessons help me grow in godliness.
So what have I learned this time? I’m not sure yet but I suspect it has something to do with this verse:
“Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered.” Proverbs 11:25
The kind of godliness that brings great gain is the kind that pursues holiness and contentment and love. It is not self centered. This proverb expresses the principle that Jesus taught. It is more blessed to give than receive.
Training for a marathon consumes a lot of time and energy. Your schedule revolves around when you will run and what you will eat and how much you will sleep. This intense focus is inherently self centered and can trick you into expecting more of the event than it’s designed to give.
But the Lord is reminding me that the kind of godliness that produces sacrificial love is a guaranteed investment, not only for this life but for the one to come.
“…godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.” 1 Timothy 4:8