August 24, 2012

Competitive Dad

This is NOT me, this is Competitive Dad, who never lets his kids win (aka UK comedian Simon Day).

On Sunday I am Competitive Dad – I will be running the City to Surf Half Marathon. Actually all through my life I have been struck by the curse of Competitive Dad – even before I was a Dad!  I was competitive Steve – an “in-your-face-I-win” scourge of the Baptist Basketball Competition back when the shorts were really, really tight and the socks extra long. My identical twin brother and I were, naturally, competitive with each other (Steve got the looks – a most Pyrrhic of victories – Ed). On Sunday, however I will be surrounded by competitive, fit, toned, fast young people (curse those handsome devils – Ed) who will show up my attempts to be really competitive.

What have I left to be competitive about?  The Run club I have joined, BT Run Club, led by an extremely competitive dad (and an extremely fast one too) has this as its motto: “Run with Endurance”, taken from Hebrews 12.  It is that that I truly want to be competitive about.

You see, I hit 45 next month, old enough to see the finishing line in the distance (all things being equal which they are not – Ed), but also old enough to know personally a whole bunch of people who had trained for a sprint only to realise later that the Christian life is a marathon. I could name a good handful of people in their forties to sixties who have given up on Jesus – just when they are either over the hump or in sight of the finish line.  So when Romans 12 says “outdo each other in love”, I want to be as competitive as I can.  When 1 Corinthians 6 says “flee sexual immorality” I want to break a PB (Personal Best – non-running flunkies – Ed), and not be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. When 1 Corinthians 9 says to “run in such a way as to get the prize”, I’m pretty sure it doesn’t mean goof around, become slothful in faith, cuddle up to sin, and let my love for my wife grow cold. When 1Timothy 6 tells me to flee from sin, and pursue “righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness”, I am looking for gold in this non-Olympic event (right between the pentathlon and the heptathlon – Ed). Finally, the letters to the churches in Revelation hold out the prize to one group of people only – those who conquer.

All in all, my fastest years are behind me.  But there is still so much to be competitive about! I hope to see you at the finish line.

(BTW – he is looking to go under 90 minutes – not that he’s being competitive or anything – Ed)

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There is no guarantee that Jesus will return in our desired timeframe. Yet we have no reason to be anxious, because even if the timeframe is not guaranteed, the outcome is! We don’t have to waste energy being anxious; we can put it to better use.

Stephen McAlpine – futureproof

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