Mutai, Kenyan bronze medalist in the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the 2012 London Olympics, was leading the cross-country race in Burlada, Spain, when he mistakenly stopped 10 meters short of the finish line. The crowd urged him to continue, but Mutai spoke no Spanish and couldn’t figure out what they were telling him.
Fernández Anaya came alongside Mutai and guided him to the finish line, always staying one step behind the Kenyan. He refused to win a race that he didn’t deserve to win.
But what if Fernández Anaya hadn’t helped Mutai? Mutai would have lost the race. Running most of a race doesn’t count; you have to go all the way.
In the Bible, the apostle Paul wrote, “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize” (1 Corinthians 9:24). Years later, at the end of his life, that same Paul was able to say, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7).
It’s not just about starting the race; we have to finish it as well. It’s not just about starting to walk with God; we have to continue all the way to the end.
In the New Testament book of Hebrews, the writer talks about pressing ahead to the finish line, the eternal rest that God has promised. He says, “Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience” (Hebrews 4:9-11). He urges Christians to “encourage one another daily” so that no one fail to make it to the goal.
We’re in a race, one that’s important to finish. We need to encourage each other and help one another so that we all continue until the end.
No turning back. No stopping. No falling by the way.