This weekend was the Chile Pepper Cross Country Festival in Fayetteville - 8 races with over 3,300 finishers ranging from junior high through university through the "old-timers." I have worked with this charity event for several years - serving on the Chile Pepper Board, as meet referee, and organizing officials. It is always a great event and over the past few years it has raised about $150,000 for high school cross country programs in this area. I also enjoy working with the local civic and business leaders who are involved.
One of the things that I love about cross country - and track and field - is that an athlete can leave an event and feel like a "winner" regardless of what place he or she finished. I talked to a friend who coaches a local high school team after their race. You would never have known that his team finished in 25th place, because he was so excited that each of his athletes had run a "PR" - a personal record. These are sports where records aren't only kept in competition with others, but in your own personal progress.
And I thought of Paul's instructions to Timothy:
"Take pains with these things; be absorbed in them, so that your progress will be evident to all." I Timothy 4:15
I'm so glad that Paul didn't say "that your perfection will be evident to all" because I would be a constant failure. But I can make progress spiritually and personally. I can become more disciplined, more compassionate, more discerning.
But am I? Even as I approach 50, is my progress evident to all? Can those who are around me see my becoming more like Christ? Can they see growth? Can they see progress?
Can those who are close to you see your progress?
I'm reading Mark Batterson's book, Wild Goose Chase. This is part of what I read this morning:
"If you're chasing the Wild Goose (Holy Spirit), you don't have to manufacture opportunities to minister. In fact, as I read the gospels, it seems to me that most of Jesus' ministry was unplanned....Spontaneity is an underappreciated dimension of spirituality. In fact, spiritual maturity has less to do with long-range visions than it does with moment-by-moment sensitivity to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. And it is our moment-by-moment sensitivity to the Holy Spirit that turns life into an everyday adventure." p. 57-58