“I, wisdom, dwell with prudence, and I find knowledge and discretion.”
How quickly we seek to become shooting stars, striving for earthly glory while neglecting our companions’ good along the way. What would it look like to nurture godly friendships as we labor in love together to follow the Lord in the good paths He has set before us?
The photo in this post is a picture of a friend of mine, Chris, and me as we came back to the finish line for my first marathon. It’s actually a funny story as far as depicting my typical weakness – seeking to accomplish big things with not enough training. The illustration is pretty strong though. Chris is an ultra marathon runner. He kindly offered to be my companion if I’d run a marathon. He coached be every Sunday before or after our worship service when Carrie and I lived in Northern Virginia. He was so gracious to hear my updates and how I had a knee injury, wasn’t training as was ideal, was running ten and then fifteen and then twenty mile prep runs in the weeks before the marathon, and then hearing my ambitious plan to go ahead and run the marathon. He graciously still joined me on the run. I was amped to just finish the race. I’d paid the entry long ago and just felt I was up for at least completing it. He ran with me for the first half at a decent 8.5 minute mile pace. As you can see from this photo, the second half was a whole different story. I averaged an 11 minute mile for the whole race. But, I finished it. The moral of the story could easily be about me and needing to do better preparation for big endevours, but in this post I want to highlight Chris. Chris is a finisher. He’s the kind of friend I need near me always. Men and women who like to start things need men and women like Chris next to them in the coaching up to and coaching through the accomplishing of endeavors.
Chris was so patient with me all through the race. He kept me talking and we had a really nice time together. He taught me throughout/during the race about the value of discipline and follow-through, but he didn’t rub in my own decision to try this race without proper training. He more used it to train me for future endeavors. We do more good to come along side one another in our current existence and befriend, care, shepherd, challenge in loving and supportive ways, be willing to correct if we have one another’s heart and have taken the time to understand the other.
In later months, Chris and I ran together a few more times, having some of our best conversations while running.
I’m sure women are this way too, but I know men often build the best friendships while accomplishing things together. I pray for Tuolumne County, for the leaders in various roles, that we would labor together and see God’s glory in our lives TOGETHER and individually. As a community of believers, between the local churches, I believe God is raising up inter-denominational unity toward seeing non-believers coming to enjoy and know Jesus Christ as LORD and Savior. I believe we will see an increased humility between men and women in the next decade that will bear the fruit of grace in the form of increased wisdom and effective ministry inside of, between, and through the various local churches.
LORD, please teach us of the cross. Teach us of grace and change, Your unearned favor in our lives to know You and to make You known together as Your body. Teach us to work together and to co-labor in Your kingdom, humbled that You would use our weakness to show Your strength, power, glory, and grace. We are Your people. We are together submitted to the grace of working together here in Tuolumne County. We trust You with what You want to do in the years ahead. In the awesome name of Jesus Christ we pray together, relying on You. Amen.
Thank you, friends, for your heart-felt responses to these posts. I’ve been deeply encouraged to keep this up, and it’s been a very fulfilling way to wrap out my times alone with the Lord, to seek to multiply what God is doing in my life, in the lives of my friends, and in the lives of people I meet day to day… to multiply what God is doing IN our lives but also THROUGH our lives.
In His deep joy and affection,