by Jim Campbell, Pastor Bay West Church, Palm Bay Florida
My family and I ran a race recently. It was a thing that my wife and the kids wanted to do together, so Dad reluctantly agreed. Katye loves to run. My kids are both in elementary school and love to run everywhere. Not me…I’ve run before, but it’s been a long time and many pounds ago. My knees just don’t hold up, but for family unity, I’d do it.
We did a couple of training run before together, but because of schedule, sickness and a bum knee, I didn’t even get to the full distance. I had one goal…keep my kids in sight, in that big crowd of people, and not have a heart attack. There’s a country song, by Toby Keith, that I’d heard before that perfectly sums up my current age. It says “I ain’t as good as I once was, but I’m as good once as I ever was”…I was counting on that.
We started the race and my son and daughter took off, and I tried to keep up…then I tried to keep within spitting distance…then finally accepted the defeat of seeing him up in front and when the course made a turn. I walked a lot toward the end, wheezing, and tried spurts of running enough to keep catching a glimpse of him up ahead.
We checked the leaderboard and the partial results had both my kids finishing in the top 5 of their division. Hooray! Mission accomplished. Later on, my wife checked the board and told me that I had finished fourth in my division.
This family exercise reminded me of another truth that I know from following Christ. A big part of following Jesus is that He calls us to community to be better than we were to begin with. The word “church” that Jesus used doesn’t mean a building, but it means a group of people rallied together around one thing…in this case Jesus. When we come together as a church, we are better than we were by ourselves.
Proverbs 27:17 says that “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. I learn from those who know more than me. I set my sights on someone who is running above my capacity and I “run faster”.
As we approach Easter Sunday, churches will have more people in church than at any other time of the year, and in a lot of ways that’s sad. It means that people think that church is just attending a meeting, and they are missing out on being a part of a family that might push their lives to a level they never thought their “aching knees” and lack of preparation could ever take them.
Take a chance this Sunday, not attend a meeting out of guilt or duty. Decide to join a family. Plug in, be a part of a Life Group. Give of yourself. Watch the fast runners who are following Jesus, and when you look up after a while, you might find yourself running faster than you ever thought was possible.
Jim Campbell (@jwcamp) is the Lead Pastor and Primary Communicator at Bay West Church, which meets at 100 Emerson Drive in Palm Bay on Sundays at 11am. For more info on Bay West Church, check us out on twitter.com/baywestchurch, facebook.com/baywestchurch, youtube.com/baywestchurch or www.baywestchurch.org.