Thirty-eight years ago this month (May), I ran my first sub-five minute mile. I was a ninth-grader at Pointe South Junior High School in Riverdale, Georgia. I remember that day acutely because I had been trying to run a mile in under five minutes for the entire season, and I was successful on my final attempt, the County Championship. Coincidentally, that was also the first one mile race I ever lost. Isn’t it funny how God will keep our ego in check!
Fast forward thirty-eight years and I stood on the starting line of the Market Street Mile in Chattanooga, Tennessee. My goal? Run a mile in under five minutes. The gun went off, I felt great running straight to the front of the over-thirty race. I never looked back and finished the mile in 4:55, the same time I had run thirty-eight years ago the first time I had broken the five-minute barrier. Hopefully, that’s not my last time, but it may be. I don’t know what God has in store for me tomorrow.
God gave me a gift: Running. He has made my body in such a way that I am able to excel at something I love to do. But, if I use it strictly for my enjoyment, I am completely missing the point and I am dishonoring the very God who gave me the ability to do what I do. For about thirty-four of those years, that’s exactly what I did. But, as I have grown closer to my Lord, He has shown me ways to impact others through the sport of running. I don’t know what He has in store for me in the future, but I have seen enough to know that following His will is never a bad thing.
He has allowed me to travel down some dark paths. They were places I would never choose to go. They were disappointing in some cases and painful in others. But, in the end, I have seen what the mighty hand of God can do when I choose to trust Him and go down that path, regardless of the immediate appearance of the direction.
Why is that important? I would never have followed His path to Run for God if He had revealed the entire picture to me from the beginning. I’m pig-headed. In addition, I found that really tough circumstances can lead to great things. But, it only works when you do two things: 1) Make yourself available to be used by God in whatever your area of talent may be, and 2) Follow His path no matter where it takes you.
My talent happens to be running, but maybe you have a talent for comforting people. God wants to use that talent, maybe through visiting nursing homes, for example. Or, maybe you can fix anything and God would enjoy seeing you repairing things for people who need it. I have heard a lot of people say, “I don’t have a talent.” To that, I reply “poppycock!” I know a lady who’s talent is sending thoughtful notes through the mail. They never fail to make my day! There’s something God wants to use you for…
Do you think God gave you that talent just so you could use it for yourself? Colossians 3:23-24 says, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.” When you help others, you are serving the Lord! Jesus tells us this in Mathew 22:37-40, “And He said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” When you honor God with your talents, you are proving your love for Him and for others, fulfilling the commandments that Jesus considers the most important.
What are you doing with your talent? Are you sharing it? If not, what are you waiting for?