We all know some; they can cause "go-getters" great stress at times; especially if we're paired to team up with them. They're found there at the end of the day, "bringing up the rear." They're the ones that will definitely finish the race eventually, but they won't be close to winning the First-Place Ribbon or even taking a spot in the Top Ten. Stragglers...crawlers...snails...defined: to move or proceed slowly, someone who moves more slowly than others. Got anyone on your mind right now that could have this word inscribed on their name tag? They're not worried about winning a blue first-place ribbon...they are content with "honorable mention" or just having their name show up on the competitor's roster.
We find these types all over the place! Look at the babies who are "slow learners"; they take off crawling about two months behind the other babies in their nursery class. We can find them in Kindergarten classes; they're the ones who are requiring extra help to form the correct curves for the letter "S" or the humps on the letter "M". They show up in middle school too, as they stand by waiting to be chosen for a spelling bee or quiz bowl. In high school, they're usually the last ones in the lunch line, to show up for a pep rally, the last one to receive an invite to the party or they're voted the least likely to succeed.
Just a side note: There were even stragglers, one's who came in last place during the running of the Kentucky Derby! Those horses weren't "slow" by any means - just slower than the others.
Guess what? It doesn't stop there. Even as adults, some are found still straggling along. The last of their group to get married, last to have a family, last to find a career path, etc. It shows up in every area of life. Even in the Christian walk! Some are quick to "get it" and are almost immediately changing and making a great impact in the Kingdom; while others are slower to catch on. It's not necessarily because they're not interested or even enthused...they just progress more slowly.
When this idea was dropped in my heart today, I thought of the children of Israel as they crossed on dry ground through the Red Sea (Exodus) and again as they crossed the Jordon River (Joshua). No matter the situation or circumstance, there was always those who were "the last" to get to land. The beautiful thing is that those waters stayed until the very last person crossed and was safe on the bank. God didn't punish the straggler...they were making progress. How patient is the God we serve!
Sometimes we may be tempted to give up on these types of people; but we must stop and realize God never gives up on us. We all have areas of struggle in our lives, when we just aren't "getting it", yet God never punishes us as long as we're making progress in His eyes. Remember this verse? 1Corinthians 9:24, "Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain." True, there can only be one first-place "WINNER" but every runner can win when they're on God's team as long as they're running to obtain. Heaven is our goal! The race is for the one who endures to the end...do you recall the story of The Tortoise and The Hare? I've never forgotten the phrase, "Slow and steady wins the race." So run with patience! (Hebrews 12:1) If we will do so, we know the back of the book says "WE WIN!"
Dear God, help me to run with purpose. Help me
to be patient with others and even with myself as I run.
Thank you for being ever so patient and for
always being right by our side should we need your help.
Thank you for having a reward for each of us
who finish wholeheartedly with You.
who finish wholeheartedly with You.