|Photo credit (AP Photo/Matt Slocumb)|
Same day. Same track. Same race. Same finish line. Same mud.
I knew the mud was there, I knew they all had to pass through it to get to the finish line, yet this particular scene spoke to me. No, better said, it screamed at me. Just moments after the first horse crossed the finish line and cheers erupted, the second place horse crossed the same line. I just couldn't get over what was so obvious to me. The mud...it was just that...mud.
I watched... grown men and ladies, young boys and girls of all ages - dressed to the nines and topped with a myriad of Derby hats ranging from quite simple to grandiose in style...walking through mud and muck. I watched high-dollar, immaculately, groomed and trained horses with their sharply, dressed jockeys race around the muddy track. I watched with anticipation, felt the excitement, and rooted for my favorites. You see, the Kentucky Derby is always a special event to me since I lived a little more than stones throw away from the venue as a child.
The 2017 Kentucky Derby winner, Always Dreaming, had to deal with the muddy track but was quite "put together" and clean compared to the horses and riders which followed. Same day. Same track. Same race. Same finish line. Same mud.
The second-place winner had to deal with the muddy track but didn't appear as "put together" and clean compared to the first place rider. Same day. Same track. Same race. Same finish line. Same mud.
|Photo credit: USA TODAY Sports Images|
My friend, we're all living in the same day - it's Monday 2017. I'm here to cheer you, and myself, onward. We're all on the same track, we're in this world but not of this world. We're all running the same race. We're all headed for the same finish line - Heaven. And, although we will probably all look a little different crossing the finish line...we all deal with the same mud.
You see, life is filled with mud-slinging moments. We get spattered from merely living in an imperfect world day after day. Or perhaps, on the rough days, we might find ourselves riding along in fifth or sixth place and have to deal with extra doses of mud being tossed our way. You see, we all deal with mud in one way or another...that's just the reality of life. What matters is one simple thing and it's written about in God's Word. Who knew He'd know what our race would look like on Monday, May 8, 2017...but He does.
"...the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong...
but time and chance happeneth to them all."
The mud, "time and chance", it happens to all of us. It's a given. Expect it. Life.
"... they which run in a race run all...run, that ye may obtain."
I Corinthians 9:24
We're all running this race, we're all running to obtain the prize. Run through the mud. Run like your life depends upon it. Obtain!
"...he that endureth to the end shall be saved."
My friend, it's not about crossing the finish line looking like we're dressed for Derby Day. It's not about crossing the finish line unscathed so you can stand in the Winners Circle looking like a million dollars. No, it's simply about enduring to the end. About cheering each other on...until. It's about finishing the race. That's all that matters. Deal with the mud. Cross that finish line with mud spattered everywhere. JUST FINISH THE RACE.
Then we can say like the great apostle did:
"I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course,
I have kept the faith:"
II Timothy 4:7
Yeah, I know it's more difficult on some days than others. I'll be the first to admit that. Some days I'm feeling like I'm stuck in last place too. It's alright though! We don't have to be in first place every day, but we've got to remain in the race, and run to obtain, and endure to the end. That's what we have to continually remind ourselves and others as we try to encourage and inspire.
Mud. Just remember, if we endure to the end, we'll be wearing much more than beautiful Derby hats. We'll exchange those temporal items for eternally, beautiful crowns which shall never fade away. Until then, let's just deal with the mud and keep on running. How's that for a mud run?! I'll be happy to finish...even if I have to deal with a little mud along the way. I want to see you finish too. Let's do this together.
Mud. It's just that. Temporary.