Creating devotionals from lessons learned through hobbies feels less spiritual than lessons learned from pain, or an inspiring portion of the Bible. In the case of running, I feel vindicated since the Bible speaks more about running than it does about hunting. Here are a few examples:
Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. 1 Corinthians 9:24-25a
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… Hebrews 12:1
And many more.
Perhaps Paul liked to run, maybe he was a long-distance runner so he could travel faster over Asia Minor to share the Gospel…or maybe not.
I have learned numerous life lessons while getting exercise. The first one was the realization that I can run. I was not much of an athlete in school. I groaned at the exercises required for PE, cutting corners whenever I could without getting caught.
I began running for exercise just before the COVID pandemic began, to become healthier and cope with stress in my life. At first, I would run a half-mile, take a break, and then run the half-mile home, out of breath. Next, I eliminated the break, then stretched the distance to 1.1 miles, 1.5, 2, and so on. I remember the first time I went 6 miles. I couldn’t believe that I was capable of such a feat.
The accomplishment of running 6 miles brought about the realization that I could learn a new discipline if I pursued it. God has created us with the ability to grow and mature. This is not limited to physical strength… you can apply the same concepts to playing an instrument, playing chess, building relationships, etc. I am not saying you will become the greatest… rather, you can learn and grow in an area. What about the disciplines of Bible memory, reading, and prayer? Ouch, I no longer can say, “I can’t.” I indeed have the capacity, so do you.
This is the first of a two-part series. Watch for the next one in the coming weeks!
– Tony High