August 12 – On Your Mark

The reverent and worshipful fear of the Lord is the beginning and the principal and choice part of knowledge [its starting point and its essence]; but fools despise skillful and godly Wisdom, instruction, and discipline. Proverbs 1:7 AMP

I love track and field. My favorite events to watch are the sprint races, and the 100 and 200 meter dashes. Everything is so quick and the margin of error is minute.

A few years back, I was watching the Olympic Games on television and was excited about one of Americas female hopefuls. She was amazing and definitely one of the favorites. In all the preliminary rounds, she had handled the competition like a pro, poise and fluidity in motion. But for some strange reason, when the starting gun sounded in the final race, she miss- stepped. It was literally just a split-second bobble, but she never recovered. Needless to say, it would be another four years (or maybe never) before she would get another shot at bringing home the gold.

The way I start affects every single part of my race. Whether I work at the factory, run my own shop, play on a sports team, or am a parent. If I start well, I will run well and nine times out of ten, I will finish well. But if I bobble the start, I may finish the race, but it’s next to impossible to recover the lead. That’s when you pray for grace!

For me, the “running a race” metaphor depicts the spirit of this Proverb. “Fear” in this particular context denotes focused reverence and respect that specifically promotes a certain outcome. To win or to run well in life, it’s not enough that I have knowledge. On the contrary, I have to apply the very best part of that knowledge. Sacrifice is understood here. And in every area of life, the judge and standard maker is God, so it stands to reason He must be the center point of my sacrificial offering.

If you talk to any of the “old time” life champions out there and you will find confirmation to this wise saying. They will attest that when they set their sights on honor and respect toward the Giver and Keeper of life’s race, winning became a by-product of a well-ran race from start to finish.

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