I am not particularly fond of running. Okay, that is an understatement! I do not like running! Consequently, I have often quipped, “If there isn’t some kind of ball and competition involved, why in the world would a person want to run?”
Perhaps you can relate. It is no wonder that I do not associate running with joy. Yet Hebrews 12:1-2 associates running with joy. However, it isn’t running that produces the joy that is mentioned. In Jesus’s case, it was what the cross would accomplish that brought Him joy. The cross accomplished our salvation when the sinless Son of God died as our substitute, enduring the righteous wrath of God upon sin. Christ ran His race and endured that suffering and shame to provide salvation.
Just the thought of sins forgiven, our relationship with God restored, and the prospect of eternity in heaven ought to elicit exuberant joy in our hearts, like it does in the heart of Jesus Christ.
Yet billions of souls around the world today know nothing of such joy because they don’t know Christ and may have never heard the gospel. The race that God has called all of us to run is the race of faith to take that Good News to those who desperately need it. Whether God has called you to go, to give, or to pray, your greatest joy should be seeing people come to Christ as a result of running your race.
Are you running that race faithfully? Amazing joy awaits those who have faithfully run their race!
In July 2020, Dr. Patrick Odle became Baptist Mid-Missions’ ninth president. He came to his position with 26 years of pastoral experience and eight years as a BMM Council member, along with service as a vice president of Faith Baptist Bible College and Theological Seminary.
For the joy set before Him, Jesus endured the cross to redeem mankind. We look to his example as we run the race of missions. Whatever your role in missions, run your race with faith and endurance—joy is at the finish line!