Like Jesus, 200 Meters at a Time!
Posted by Stan Rodda
I grabbed my running gear and headed to the track at Bull Run Middle School. Two days a week I run with a couple other men from our campus. Today we were going light, just to loosen up our legs. Flag football is beginning to take its toll on my old body. We decide we’re going to run 8 X 200. In lamen’s terms, we decided to run 200 meters, 8 times. I enjoy Tuesday and Thursday afternoons because I get to work on keeping my body in shape with two other men who have the same goal.
But we don’t run, just to run. This is also our group time. For those familiar with Christianese, you know what I’m talking about. For those who might not be as familiar with weird, Christian lingo, let me explain what I’m talking about. These two guys and I have decided to journey through life together. We don’t force the issue, but when things come up, we are there for each other. We eat dinner, work out, play football and go to church, together. It’s an awesome group.
We line up at the start line on the track. Our “coach” sets his watch and says, “Go.” The three of us take off at about a 75% pace. We get done with the first 200 meters and we try to catch our breath. That’s easier for one of us, but I refuse to say which one. I take the thirty second break we are enjoying to drop a question that has been consuming me for a couple of weeks now. In between semi-deep breaths I manage to squeak out, “Question of the day. What does it look like practically, everyday, to live and be like Jesus?”
Ephesians 4:12, 13 (MSG) – “to train Christ’s followers….until we’re all moving rhythmically and easily with each other, efficient and graceful in response to God’s Son, fully mature adults, fully developed within and without, fully alive like Christ.“
Thirty seconds are already up. How is that possible? We just started our break, right? We’ll have to answer after the second, 200 meter leg. “Go.”
Second leg is over, time for a thirty second break. In between deep breaths a thought is thrown out. “I don’t know man. That’s hard.” I respond with another question, “Yes, it is. More specifically, what does it look like for me to be like Jesus in my marriage? Or as a father?” Thirty seconds is up. I think our coach is cutting us off too soon. I’m still panting. “Go.” And the third, 200 meter leg, is over. Only five more to go.
In between each 200 meter leg and the sounds of deep breathing, the conversation continues. As the conversation gets deeper, so does the sun. It begins to go down behind the tree line and pretty soon, it’s gone. By the eighth 200 meter leg, it’s mostly dark outside with a few school lights and the stars in the sky acting as guides to our feet on the track. “Go.” The last 200 meter sprint begins. Before long, it is over. All we can hear is the sound of deep breaths. Our breathe showing up in the cold air as we strain to take in more oxygen. The walk back to our bags seems much bigger now than it did before we began. Did someone move our bags? I don’t remember this walk being this hard.
Hebrews 12:1 (NLT) – “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.”
Our conversation continues, “Well, when I read about Jesus, He seems so selfless. He didn’t have any self-gratification in His life at all. And I love my toys. So maybe if I want to be more like Jesus I need to be more selfless with my stuff.”
“True. That’s a great point.”
It’s suggested at this point that we stretch out while we talk. We’re old and have to do that now.
“What about our marriages?”
“Well, I guess if I’m going to be like Jesus, I should do things for my wife even though I know I won’t get anything in return.”
“No doubt. That’s a tough one.”
“Sometimes I come home from a long day of work and I’m tired. I just want dinner, a warm shower and to go to bed, but I know I need to spend time with my kids. They need me too. It’s hard to be selfless like Jesus when I’m so tired. I have a lot of work to do by giving my kids the time they need.”
The practical challenges of being like Jesus begin to manifest themselves to us. I will speak for the group and say that none of us are “bible scholars.” We aren’t theologians or philosophers. We are three guys, trying to understand how to be like Jesus in the 21st century. And we are going to do that by doing life together and supporting each other in that effort.
“And just to throw this one out there; what does it look like to be like Jesus at play?”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean, on the track or playing football. How do we be like Jesus there?”
“Oh man. You might be going too far tonight. We should tackle that next week. I’m still stuck on how to be like Jesus in my marriage.”
“And we haven’t even begun to tackle the thought life yet.”
“Oh man. One thing at a time.”
Three guys, enjoying life and trying to be more like Christ. I’m willing to place money on one bet. My bet is this; had I come into these men’s lives and said, “Hey, we’re going to be like Jesus and this is the program by which we’re going to do it,” they wouldn’t have joined me. The place we are at, as we strive to be more like Jesus, developed out of a relationship strictly born out of where we already were in life.
The conversation moved to one man asking how he could be a better example to his sister. He wants her to come to church so bad. How could he effectively share Jesus with her and how his life had been changed by Jesus? Want to know what I heard, “How can I be an evangelist for Christ?”
The other man in our group is considering going into full-time ministry. I don’t know what’s going to happen with that situation, but I do know it wouldn’t have happened had we overlooked the importance of simply doing life together. Want to know what I hear in his story, “I want to make an eternal impact for Christ.”
And in our group…
…there are no lectures.
…there are no judgments.
…there is no condemnation.
Just three men, trying to be more like Jesus.
Jesus reached out to His disciples where they were. On a boat fishing. Collecting taxes. Walking down the road. I wonder if He were here today, if He would walk onto a track and say to three, crazy men, “Come, follow me.”
Changed lives happen in the course of everyday relationships.
Changed lives happen when Jesus Christ is the foundation of who we are.
Changed lives happened on a boat in the Sea of Galilee.
Changed lives happen on a track in North Virginia.
Mark 1:16, 17 (NLT) – “One day as Jesus was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and his brother Andrew throwing a net into the water, for they fished for a living. Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow Me.“
How are you meeting people where they are? Who are you coming alongside to join on this spiritual journey? Who are you challenging to become more like Jesus? And in the process, how are you becoming more like Christ?
About Stan RoddaFollower. Husband. Father. Shepherd. Apostle. Husker.
Posted on November 16, 2010, in bible, Church, discipleship, evangelism, Family, God, Jesus, Life, marriage, missional communities, relationships, social settings, the basics. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.