Stretching and Reaching

13 Brothers and sisters, I know that I have not ·yet reached that goal, but there is one thing I always do. Forgetting the ·past and stretching and reaching forward to what is ahead, 14 I keep ·trying to reach the goal and get the prize for which God called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:13-14, Expanded Bible)

As I started working on this post I was watching Game On. A kind of ridiculous game show CBS decided to air this summer. We watch it because there seems to be little else on that isn’t a rerun. The show stars Keegan Michael Key (the host), Venus Williams (captain of the red team), and Rob Gronkowski (captain of the blue team). Regularly on the red team is comedian Ian Karmel, Always with blue is comedian Bobby Lee. There is also a guest on each team. Tonight was Terrell Owens for red and Kevin Nealon was with blue.

The show consists of a series of “games.” Some are brains some are more brawn. Tonight Gronk threw footballs in an effort to knock a trophy off Bobby Lee’s head. For the other team Venus Williams hit tennis shots to knock the trophy off Ian’s head. It took 5 throws for Gronk and three serves for Venus. The round went to Venus.

All this lead up was for a different game where the regular team members ran and jump and jumped through a paper sign. The person who ran the fastest (in miles per hour) would win for their team. Ian went first and his run was 10 miles per hour. Venus was next and she ran at 14 miles per hour. Gronk ran first for blue and ran at 14.2 miles per hour. Blue won and Bobby didn’t have to run. They got Keegan to run. His form was different, he ran and then dove through the sign. His speed was 15 miles per hour.

When Keegan ran and then dove through the sign. I knew he would have the best speed because when he dove at the sign he never lost momentum. When Gronk got to the sign, he turned almost sideways. That would take away his momentum. When Venus ran, as she got to the sign she actually slowed. Keegan was the only one who pushed through.

It also reminded me of our Scripture for today. The lesson says I am stretching and reaching for the goal, the heavenly call in Jesus. As we stretch ourselves spiritually, we grow, our faith gets stronger.

I picked the guy at the finish line because he is stretching, reaching, well, sort of. But the goal in the race is to reach the finish line. Any good running coach will tell you, don’t worry where the competition is. Run your race. The only thing you accomplish by looking around is to slow down and give your opponent the opportunity to catch you.

The same is true for the spiritual race. We go out to the race. We are always moving forward, reaching forward, trying to be the first across the finish line. And, in a long race, like a marathon you push yourself. And, you might take a moment and look around to see where the competition is. For that you need to turn around again and get back to your primary focus.

The Church does need to know and remember its past. It is much like the old history cliché, “Those that don’t know history are doomed to repeat it. There was a story on 60 Minutes Sunday night about the hard right is on the rise again in Europe. We have reached a time that the atrocities of World War II and Nazi Germany are not really part of the public consciousness anymore. Most of the people who were there are gone now. And, at least in some parts of the world, one could make the argument that in some parts of the world we could be about to see it again. We need to look back, to remember. We need to look back to understand. We need to understand we don’t want to go back to those days. We also need to know, without seeing it in the best way possible, but hearing the stories of the experiences, we might well relive a horrible time.

Looking back is OK because looking back helps us not to relive bad experiences. It helps us to remember. It helps us to say, “Never again,” and really mean it.

But don’t keep the focus behind you. If you do before long you will start running backwards. And, if you run backwards, sooner or later you are going to fall because you don’t know where you are going. If you don’t know where you are going, you won’t know the obstacles in your way and sooner or later something will trip you up and down and it is a pretty good shot to keep each other going.

There is an old movie called “Gumball Rally.” The only thing I really remember about the movie was the driver, the first driver on this particular team reached up and tore the rearview mirror and to that point, he wasn’t worried about looking back, he was reaching out for the finish line.

May we do the same.

Be Blessed.

Seeking the Genuine,

Copyright 2020, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

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