Running the race with endurance

This morning, David shared a message about the economics of salvation.  Not in the sense of money exchange or marginal revenue.  Actually, he asked us to think about everything that it took for us to receive salvation.  He started with his own life today and worked backward.  At some point, he received salvation from his sin by believing on Jesus Christ and being baptized.  And in our own selfishness, we might think that that was it.

But David encouraged us to think about, and gave examples of, all the people who came together and circumstances by which we were able to have the choice of accepting Christ or not.  Individual decisions, declarations, and opportunities.

I was raised in a Christian home.  As long as I can remember, I’ve been going to church on Sundays.  And for most of that time, we’ve been going to church on Fridays and / or Saturdays.  My father is a church elder.  My mother’s been involved in the choir.  I practically grew up in the church.

I was raised in the Korean United Methodist Church, so I was baptized when I was an infant.  I’m not going to go into salvation and baptism now.  I will say that as an adult, I was baptized once again because I believed it was important for me to have chosen to be baptized.

I do remember when I asked Christ into my heart, when I realized that I was a sinner and in need of redemption.  I repented and received Jesus as my Savior.  It was in Jr. High and I was on a church youth retreat.

At that time, I had a similar understanding of what it took for my salvation to occur.  I was an island.  The world revolved around me.  Even my salvation was a choice that I had made on my own.  And my spiritual life going forward was going to be up to me.

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In many ways, my world looked like a lonely, uphill struggle.  I knew I would never earn my salvation through my works, and that’s why I needed Christ to save me.

It wasn’t until many years later that my mother shared something with me that I’ll never forget.  Paul speaks of our lives like a Race in 1 Corinthians 9 and 2 Timothy 4.  But my mother told me that this is not a race we have to run alone, and we don’t always start from the beginning.

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Instead of a sprint, our lives are like a relay marathon.  God’s faithfulness will bless us for generations to come.  The faith of my parents has put me on the track well ahead of where they had started the race.  As they raised me and taught me about their faith, I was learning from their mistakes and triumphs.

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My goal as a father is to put my children on the track.  Not just to get them in the race, but to give them a head start.  I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my life.  I am thankful for grace and mercy, but as a parent, I’m praying that my children can avoid all of the heartache and grief that I had needlessly endured.

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2 responses to “Running the race with endurance

  1. Love this, Tim!

    I was not raised in a Christian home, and my paternal grandparents were not saved either, but my great-grandparents were believers. I had a conversation with a cousin of my dad’s many years ago and she told me that my great-grandma (her grandmother) had always prayed for all of us grandchildren. She died before I was born, but she prayed for me! Amazing to think that she continues to have an influence for generations to come through her prayers. This has always been a reminder to me that the race will go on long after I am gone from this earth, and that I have an opportunity to bless my great-great-great grandchildren!

    Like

    • Tanya, I’ve often wondered if the inheritance in Proverbs 13:22 refers to our spiritual inheritance –

      “A good man leaves an inheritance to his childrens children, But the wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous.”

      Like

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