“And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,” Hebrews 12:1
I’ve been watching a TV show called “Merlin.” Merlin was a teenage boy who came to Camelot and became King Arthur’s servant. What King Arthur didn’t know was that Merlin had magic. Merlin was a powerful sorcerer. But Merlin did not tell Arthur because magic was strictly forbidden in Camelot. Merlin kept his secret hidden for years. Time and time again he used magic secretly to save Arthur and Camelot. Arthur was completely oblivious. In fact, when the battles were over and victory was won, Arthur was the one who got all the credit, even though it was usually Merlin who had saved the day. Arthur cared for Merlin, but still treated him as a lowly servant who cleaned his armor, shined his boots, and was always at his beckon call.
Merlin’s calling was to be a servant to the king.
We all have a calling on our lives. God created each of us for a very specific purpose. We have a race to run–our own personal race marked out for us by God. Yet sometimes we get off course because we get entangled with sin or hindered by obstacles that get in our way. Sometimes what hinders us is trying to run other people’s races. We like their lane better than ours. We want their talents, their gifts, their job, their ministries, their position.
We don’t want to be the lowly servant. We want to be the great king.
When I stand before the Lord in eternity one day, He’s not going to ask me, “Rachel, why didn’t you run Peggy Sue’s race?” But He might ask me, “Rachel, why didn’t you run the race I marked out for YOU to run?”
The Lord’s ladder of success looks very different from the world’s.
The world says, “Climb higher!”
The Lord says, “Climb lower!”
The world says, “Get others out of the way and push yourself up that ladder.”
The Lord says, “Get yourself out of the way and push others up that ladder.”
The world says, “Success is at the top.”
The Lord says, “Success is at the bottom.”
My “word of the year” for 2017 has been “glory.” I started the year with such excitement over this word. I was pumped! I wanted to see God’s glory and bask in it. I wanted God to be glorified in me. I wanted to be transformed into His image “from glory to glory” as 2 Corinthians 3:18 says. At least, that’s what I thought I wanted. But what I didn’t expect or anticipate was this aspect of glory…
God being glorified in others.
Oh how I have allowed this to hinder my race this year. I have struggled, gotten entangled, and tripped over the weight of my own pride. The Lord has used the word “glory” to peel back the layers of pride in my ugly selfish heart. I hesitate to even type the next statement but it’s true.
What I really wanted was not for God to get the glory, but for Rachel to get the glory.
See if I really wanted God to get the glory, the how and the who wouldn’t matter. If He chose to be glorified in me, great! If He chose to be glorified in someone else, great! Right? It shouldn’t matter who or how God gets the glory–just that God gets the glory!
As the series of “Merlin” came to a close, Arthur was dying and Merlin finally got the opportunity to tell Arthur he had magic.
Arthur said, “All these years, Merlin, you’ve never once sought any credit.”
Merlin replied, “That’s not why I do it. Some men are born to plant fields. Some live to be great physicians. Others to be great kings. Me, I was born to serve you, Arthur. And I’m proud of that. I wouldn’t change a thing.”
Merlin was a powerful sorcerer. He could have easily used his power to get rid of Arthur, assume the throne, and reign as king of Camelot. But Merlin knew that was not his race to run. His destiny was to be a lowly servant. So he kept his focus, stayed in his lane, ran his race well, and encouraged Arthur to run his. Arthur became a great king and Merlin became a great servant.
What would happen if we, like Merlin, knew our callings, stayed in our own lanes, and ran our races well?
What if one of the best parts of running our races is cheering others on in their lanes?
What if the best way to keep from tripping over ourselves is to cheer others on?
And maybe, just maybe, the real prize isn’t in winning the race, standing on the platform, and receiving a gold medal.
Maybe it’s finishing last, walking over to the sidelines, and quietly blending in with that great cloud of witnesses. Maybe it’s cheering on the other runners as they get their medals. Maybe it’s looking up toward the heavens, fixing our eyes on Jesus, and whispering, “To God be the glory!”
See, Jesus is the true prize. And to glorify Him, we must learn to run like Him.
Like Jesus, the race we are called to run is shaped like a cross.
So for the joy set before you–run.
Run your race.
Because the only person who can run your race is YOU!
“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, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2
“The greatest among you will be your servant.” Matthew 23:11
“But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” 2 Corinthians 3:18