Running the Treadmill
On an unusually cool late summer day, I decided to go for a run outside rather on the treadmill at the gym. It happens to be 1.5 miles down the main road of my neighborhood. Since I had easily been running 5 miles on the treadmill all summer, a run down the main street and back should be easy…right? WRONG!!!!!! The run down was a little hard. But, during the run back I thought I might die! What happened? How could three miles outside be so much harder than five miles on a treadmill? If running on the treadmill was not going to help me run outside, then I had wasted a lot of nights at the gym that could have been spent at home with a good book and a glass of iced tea.
So, in my frustration I decided to try a new plan. Two days on the treadmill and two days running outside no matter what the weather was like! As it turns out, to run three miles outside I needed to run six miles on the treadmill. To run five miles outside, I needed to run almost ten on the treadmill! Why all the determination? My children asked me to run with them in a half marathon. They are convinced we will have a great time together. So, like any good mother, when your kids say, “Please,” I sad, “Yes.” (I’ll let you know how it works out later this year)
In the midst of the new plan I did a lot of speculating as to why running outside was so much harder than running on a treadmill. I came up with some ideas. And I began to realize that comparing running outside to running on a treadmill is a lot like comparing living out the Christian life without a church family and living out the Christian life with a church family.
The treadmill offers a lot of support. It softens the pounding on the knees. The motor helps you keep the pace. The timer will automatically shut off once you have reached your goal. It has a fan to keep you cool with fresh air. At the end it tells you all that you accomplished (distance, speed, calories, etc.) The church family operates in much the same way. It is our church family that offers us a lot of support. Hebrews 10:25 tells us, “Let us not give up meeting together…but let us encourage one another.” 3:13 says, “But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today…”
When life pounds and pounds and pounds on us it is our church family that softens the blow by praying for and loving us. Paul tells us in Ephesians to keep on praying for all the saints. In James we hear if one is hurting then pray for him. It is those prayers that protect us from the pounding! When life’s momentum has us running, it is our church family that runs along beside us helping us keep our pace by grounding us in Scripture, prayer, love and grace. They become our motor.
Just when we can’t go much farther, our church family says, “We’ve got his,” and they cover the bases for us; just as fellow believers kept the work going when Paul and Silas were in prison. When life heats up, our church family is there to help us find answer, calm our worries and keep us cool. The older teach the younger, the younger teach the older so that together we can withstand the heat.
At the end of the day it is our church family that is around to tell us all that God accomplished because we made it to the finish line.
Sometimes the church has its shortcomings but I think the words in Hebrews are wise, “don’t give up meeting together.” Take it from a runner, five miles on the treadmill is a lot easier than five miles outside! Be a part of a church family and enjoy the “run!”