"Therefore, we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and the finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." Hebrews 12:1&2
I have just returned from a trip to Colorado where we celebrated my uncle, who crossed the finish line after 90 years of life. It was a bittersweet journey, knowing he was the last one in our family from that generation, and yet, his life was a testimony of generosity and care for others. It was good to catch up with my cousins and siblings, as well as to have time to go through old photographs and recall funny and sentimental memories with one another. The trip was a good reminder to keep on running the race of faith with endurance and joy, as we all leave a legacy behind us.
I will need endurance for this weekend as our church is busy with our outreach during the community's annual Apricot Fiesta. Tonight I will help provide security at a barricade as vendors set up for the street fair and parade that take place Saturday and Sunday. While the city puts on their celebration, our church will be hosting our annual Lemonade and Shade where we hand out free lemonade, snow cones, cotton candy, face painting and bounce house. It is a fun, yet busy weekend and I know I will need lots of energy, spiritually and physically. This is a tremendous opportunity to reach out to members of the community that we might not encounter otherwise.
As I prepare to take part, I have deliberately set time aside for Bible study and prayer, as well as making sure I got ample sleep. Weariness in either physical or spiritual matters wouldn't be good. Endurance is necessary when running a race, and the race is on daily. Without the knowledge of the Holy Spirit doing His work in and through me, I wouldn't be able to do that which I've been called to do. I depend on God's strength at all times, but particularly during seasons such as this. There is tremendous joy knowing Jesus is running alongside of me encouraging me each step of the way.
I pray each of you will run the race of life with endurance and joy. Our testimony can encourage and strengthen those who watch and who run with us. May God be glorified in all we say and do.
If you're in the Patterson area this weekend (May 30 - June 1) come and enjoy the Apricot Fiesta, swing by First Baptist Church on Saturday to enjoy some lemonade, and come celebrate Jesus with us Sunday morning in the circle.