This past weekend I was in Richmond, VA for the Youth and Junior Elite draft legal triathlon. Some of our young athletes were competing, and it was an all around great trip. Something happened this weekend that happens quiet often to our entire Run for God family. A gentleman came out of his way to comment on our shirts, more specifically, the suits our triathlon kids wear. He said that his son had recently come to know the Lord and when he saw one of our athlete’s on the course wearing their Run for God gear, it inspired him. The other part of our Tri team was competing at another venue and while getting a race summary from that venue; I heard the same thing, stories of how people had commented on the Run for God tent and the shirts. While making the eight-hour drive home, I pulled up my Facebook and began reading how Ben Reed, an instructor in Westerville, OH, had volunteered his class to work the packet pick-up at a local race. 14,500 runners were present. Guess what, they were all wearing their Run for God shirts, and to hear the impact they had on those runners was awesome!
Yes, I am wearing a Run for God shirt 95% of the time, and I get many comments from many people. The vast majority of comments are great, inspiring, and are the type of comments that you know the Lord has reached down and touched someone’s day. Even if it’s just a small touch. Others are witty and even rude at times, like the guy that asked me “What’s God running for? President?” I’m convinced that in some way, even those people are touched.
So, can a t-shirt make a difference? I say yes, but I say that with a strong word of caution. People today seem to be more aware than ever of how others handle and portray themselves. A Run for God shirt, or any spiritual shirt for that matter, on the shoulders of someone who is out in the world living for Christ and reflecting Jesus can be a very powerful thing. It says a lot about who you are and whom you follow. It lets others know what you stand for without you ever having to open your mouth. But, and here is the word of caution, you must be walking with Christ and reflecting His light for that shirt to have ANY power. I have a friend that had a quote from Francis of Assisi printed on the back of his Run for God shirt. The quote is simply “Preach the Gospel, and if necessary, use words”. That statement is so true! We can make all the statements we want about how we live for God, and even have a closet full of spiritual shirts, but if our actions do not backup what we are representing then we are only hurting the cause and our words have no validity.
2 Corinthians 5:20-21 (NIV)
We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sinfor us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
“Preach the Gospel, and if necessary, use words” Francis of Assisi