I have "stumbled" (pun somewhat intended :-) upon an interesting analogy concerning life. In a time when I was much younger, for my junior and senior high school years, I was involved in track and field as a sprinter. I enjoyed running the 100 and 200 meter dashes as well as the 400 meter relay. There was nothing much more enjoyable than taking a baton handoff from a teammate and racing for the good of the four man relay team, particularly, and the greater team, in general. It was especially sweet if I was running the anchor leg and had the opportunity for my chest to hit the ribbon at the finish line. There was nothing like the wind flowing through my hair, both literally and figuratively...now, that doesn't happen so much -- literally or figuratively. lol My personality as a young 'un was much like that of a sprinter...I was more impatient, took more risks, "crashed" more, and could go go go for short periods of time...but, then be wiped out.
The fascinating analogy for me now is that I have allowed a friend of mine to talk me into running a 5K in a couple of months. Whereas, when I was younger, this would completely go against my grain...not only as a sprinter, but of my "sprinter's personality"...now, it is not only more acceptable to go the 5k distance, it is also more pleasing to me personally. What I have learned as I have moved into middle age is to pace myself. Whereas I used to be inconsistent and variable as the sprinter, I believe that my life has become more consistent and steady like that of the distance runner. Don't get me wrong, there are still times when I like to kick up a good sprint while running...but, personally, I have learned the value of Paul's anaology concerning running the race (1 Corinthians 9:24-27). Some of the lessons I have learned as the distance runner -- there are fewer opportunities to be disqualified from the race for the distance runner than for the sprinter. This would appear to be so on the track, as well as in life. There is great value for us if, like the distance runner, we learn to pace ourselves in life...to become better balanced. Not only this, we cannot be on and off like the sprinter...spiritually, but we must spiritually run the race, consistently, with eternity in view. As we learn in Revelation (2:10), the Lord says to those who are in the church at Ephesus -- "Be faithful until death and I will give you a crown of life." If we plan for the long haul, practically and spiritually, we will reap great benefits.