Staying the course (Sixth Sunday of Easter, 5 May)

Jim Thorpe was a native American track and field athlete who competed for his country at the 1912 Olympics. It is said that on the morning of one of his events at the Olympics, his shoes were stolen. Luckily, he found two odd shoes in a garbage can. One of the shoes was too big for him and so he wore an extra sock and wore these odd shoes to race in. In so doing, Jim Thorpe won two gold medals.

Perhaps, we might have excused Thorpe if he had withdrawn from his races, knowing that he was so poorly shod. However, he was a winner who was determined to do his best, come what may. He ran with determination, not complaining about the difficulties that had come his way but pressing on to win his races.

Not infrequently, life appears to be unfair as it was for Jim Thorpe on that day. We may face stolen shoes, ill health, failed relationships, or failed business. We may feel like ‘throwing in the towel’ and giving up. Yet, as the writer to the Hebrews urges us in chapter 12 of that epistle, we should not give up. Rather, we should remember the example of the saints of old who, like Jim Thorpe, continued in the race before them, despite the trials and difficulties that had beset them.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such hostility against himself from sinners, so that you may not grow weary or lose heart. (Hebrews 12:1–3)

Grace and peace to you all,