The Race for Me ... and Thee: Nov 20th - 26th

Devotional...

The Race for Me ... and Thee
by Karen Morerod, Kansas City, Kansas  

Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus... (Hebrews 12:1b-2a)

I walk two miles most mornings. That might not be impressive to real athletes; but it's a fairly new regimen for me now that 50 years of age is lurking at the door. Maybe in the near future I'll work up to a longer workout, but for now, it's what I can do without my body threatening to go on strike.

When I walk, I try to keep focused on something. I seldom look at the people in the cars that go by. I keep my head down or look straight ahead. Sometimes I pray. Other times I think about tightening certain muscles when I walk and what shape I might be in on my 50th birthday. Or I focus on my driveway in the distance and pant, "One hundred more yards... fifty more yards... I can... do all things... through Christ..."

If I don't focus on those things, my mind can too easily get sidetracked. I begin to wonder how a certain neighbor can have such a messy yard. I envy the next neighbor's landscaping. I shake my head at the farmer's sign that says "Vegatables" (spell it right, for pete's sake). Or, with sweat running down my neck, I covet the cool air the passing drivers are enjoying with their rolled up windows.

With thoughts like that, it's probably best that I keep focused.

It reminds me of the scripture in Hebrews that tells me I should run with perseverance the race marked out for me. Oh, the scripture actually says, "...marked out for us," but I wonder if we could make that scripture a little more personal. The Hebrews' author is using the collective noun us, implying that all of us Christians should run the race marked out for all Christians. However, I don't see in scripture where I'm to run Kathy's race or Carole's race or my husband's race. But, the Bible does tell me I have a specific part in the Body of Christ and I need to get focused on that -- the race marked out for me.

How about your involvement in your church's music ministry? Are you focused on your part in that race? Or are you looking around and checking out others and their actions? Do you notice every time someone is late to practice? Mentally keep track of when they're absent? Do you get huffy at others' wrong notes or when they come in a beat late? Or are you silently envious of someone who's a little better than you?

The problem of not paying attention to our own race -- of not being focused -- is that we start to notice the negative and then become prideful, critical or judgmental. Okay, that's what I do. Hopefully you would never do anything like that.

Now I'm not advocating lazy singing styles or unfaithful practice attendance, but if each one of uswere focused on what we are supposed to be focused on, then maybe some of those problems would go away.

I do something else on my morning walks. I jog a little. (I hope "a little" isn't exaggerating). I start at one road sign and give myself a goal of jogging until I get to another sign. I keep trying to improve my goals, making those stretches longer, pushing myself to get stronger.

What if each of us pushed ourselves to get stronger to help lead our church in worship? Maybe we could cease pointing out others' faults and work on our own goals. Goals such as being faithful in attendance and on time, or learning a song better. Or the ultimate goal of worshiping God with a sincere praise-filled heart.

I think we do this best when Jesus is our focus. With our eyes fixed on Him, each of us can run our own race, do our own personal best, and our team or choir will operate in better unity and harmony.

GOING DEEPER:
1. How do you handle it when you're feeling envious of -- or superior to -- someone else in the worship ministry?
2. Where's your focus most of the time in the worship ministry?
3. As you focus on your race and what God is asking you to do, is there a goal you should be aiming for and asking God's help with?