I won a race yesterday – I’m sure that comes as a shock to those who know me as I’m not at all athletic. It was a race at the checkout line at the supermarket. I spotted someone I knew a few tills up and mentally raced her to see if I would be finished first. I thought I was losing until her checkout lady hit the buzzer to call for help; I caught up with her and finished paying before she did. Of course the race was only in my head – still I enjoyed the minor victor.
I have been thinking since then why do we always look to see how other people are doing in their race and try to pit ourselves against them? I don’t think I’m the only person who races people mentally. I’m sure I’m not the only one who is guilty of weighing up my neighbour to see how they are fairing and if I am doing better or worse. We like the boost of knowing that we are somehow ahead of someone else. Yet in actual fact measuring other people’s race is actually distracting us from our own goals.
Hebrews 12:1-2 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
The goal of this race is not to beat others, but to finish – it is a race of endurance, a long distance race, not a competitive race.
Acts 20:24 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.
Who are you racing against? Is your focus on your neighbour of on the prize – Jesus?
Help me Lord to keep my focus on you and not to get distracted by racing against others.