The runners hopped and stretched nervously, concentration etched into each angle of their face. This 100-meter sprint was for the championship.
Six-year old Bobby bent down to fit his frame into the blocks, every muscle of his four-foot body was ready for this. Next to him, five-year old Susie eyed the finish line. She wanted to win.
Finally next to them, six foot one inch David considered the race before him. It had been awhile since he’d seen 40 years of age and he wanted to win something–finally.
“On your mark … get set … go!” The starters gun banged the three athletes into action. Little Bobbie’s legs pumped like pistons while Susie ran right behind him. But David’s long legs easily distanced them and he crossed the finish line first—19.8 seconds for the hundred meters! (For a point of reference, Asafa Powell from Jamaica recently ran the distance in 9.74 seconds).
Bobby and Susie huffed in right on his heels, but not quite as fast as the adult.
Now, why I am impressed with the kids in this story but not so impressed with the big guy? We expect grown-ups to run faster than children, don’t we, and if he’s just barely faster than a five-year old he’s probably not a specimen of physical splendor.
Honestly, a time that’s fast for a five-year old isn’t necessary fast for a ten year-old and certainly isn’t fast for a twenty-year old. We progress through life and if we don’t something is wrong.
Why aren’t we like that spiritually? Why are we satisfied to be at the same level now as we were five years ago?
Sometimes we think we’ve arrived. Paul applauded the Thessalonians for their love (1 Thessa. 1:3; 3:6). He had already encouraged them to grow in love so that their love would overflow (3:12). Now “coach” Paul yells, “You’re doing well, but you can do better!” (1 Thessa. 4:1)
And it’s true. Winning teams are those who aren’t happy with good enough; they want to win the prize! I think the Thessalonians took Paul’s exhortations to heart. Evidently the churches in the Macedonian province were Phillip, Thessalonica, and Berea. Listen to what Paul said about these churches later:
” And now, brothers, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the saints. And they did not do as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us in keeping with God’s will.” (2 Cor. 8:1-5, NIV)
It seems like the Thessalonians Christians obeyed and put their love in action. Empty words weren’t enough.
So, you feel like you’re pretty fast, huh? You’re doing well spiritually. Then I encourage you–Do better yet! Get faster! Grow up! Love more!
« It is the sublimist of all spectacles to see the Risen Christ without money or army or state charging this band of five hundred men and women with world conquest and bringing them to believe it possible and to undertake it with serious passion and power. Pentecost is still to come, but dynamic faith rules on this mountain in Galilee.”A.T. Robinson—Robertson’s Word Pictures of the New Testament.