By: Staci Stallings
You know, sometimes kids are so much smarter than we are. Let me tell you this story, and I think you’ll see what I mean. This last weekend we went to my daughter’s final track meet (3rd grade). At the meet, they have third grade girls and preschool teams. The two alternate races. The preschoolers are a sight to behold. They run the wrong direction, forget to hand off the baton, wave to the crowd, and do other equally entertaining things in the course of the afternoon.
But they also run the whole amount that the third graders do. No shorter distances for these kids. No. Some races call for one child to run all the way around the track. All races are relay, so if one team breaks free or gets behind, the amount they are ahead or behind gets exaggerated by the end of the race.
During one race, the little green team fell behind, and then they fell really behind. By the time the last little boy got the baton to have to run all the way around the track, the third place team in front of him crossed the finish line. He was left all alone running all the way around that track, by himself, knowing they had already lost. It was clear he was tired, and he was discouraged, and he really did not even want to be running anymore. The less he wanted to run, the slower he got.
And then something quite remarkable happened. He was on the inside lane of the track, and all of a sudden one of his little green teammates ran up next to him on the inside of the track. Instantly our little runner perked up and started really running. Now they were racing, he and his own teammate, all the way around the track to the finish line.
Watching this really made me stop and think. How many times are we that kid running this race that seems impossible? Tired and discouraged, we run slower and slower, knowing everyone is standing there watching us lose. And then sometimes something quite remarkable happens—someone, an angel, a teammate, comes along side us and though they are not racing us, they become our resolve to run the whole race as well as we can anyway. They run with us so we won’t get tired, so we’ll run a great race even if the others have already cleared the finish line.
More importantly, how often do we get the chance to be that second little boy, the one who saw his teammate struggling and decided to just run along side him or her? It truly takes two for this type of teamwork.
As Paul said, there will come a time when we will stand at the throne of God and sense in our innermost souls, “I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race. And from now on a merited crown awaits me.”
Personally, I think that second little green guy should get two crowns.