However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace. Acts 10:24 (NIV)
Today, youngest son participated in an adventure race. This team sport is a combination of scavenger hunt, marathon, kayaking and bicycle race. Two teams of three students from his school participated with a teacher as coach. My husband and I drove the chase vehicle chauffeuring their coach from one site to another. What we thought would be a boring day, turned out to be entertaining. The route was a mystery to the racers, but they each brought a bicycle, helmet, backpack full of water, and other gear such as a bicycle repair kit and a first aid supplies. At the starting line, all racers took off their shoes which were put in one big pile and mixed. Then, one person retrieved the shoes for all of their team members before they could carry their kayak to the bay a half mile away. One team member paddled a mile across the bay to an island while the other two ran back to the bicycle shop, got their bikes and rode three miles to meet the kayaker. From there, they ran or walked a ten mile route following a map and clues to find “five tokens” (one of which was a brick). At each point, they performed a task to get their prize: swim out into the gulf to find a sunken can, climb a tree to retrieve a business card, fill a garbage can with seawater (using a bucket with holes punched in the bottom), do pushups or wade into a muddy bayou. It was truly a team effort as each member had to do their part or they would drag the rest down. Our two teams each got lost at least once, missed a task and had to retrace their steps and had equipment failures. Along the way, they supported, cajoled, argued and harassed each other. When the race ended, they came in second and third to the last. Race organizers and their coach were encouraging however, stating that they had done well for their first try and what counts in this sport is whether or not you finish the race. There were many times today that our six thought about quitting but unlike some other teams, they did not. They kept on until they crossed the finish line with all three team members walking on a board like skis held to their feet by strings. When it was over, they did not focus on their place at the finish, but laughed about their day. There was pure joy (mixed with pain of sore muscles and blistered feet) on their faces. They finished, and it was fun. That was all that mattered. How about you? Are you running your race so that at the end of your life you can say you completed your task of sharing the grace of God to others? Witnessing doesn’t have to be a chore, however. Laughter is contagious. Take what life throws at you and live with joy!