It was a beautiful day for a run! And then I started running…
I watched the storm clouds begin to gather and thought to myself, “Perhaps I should just go run earlier than my advertised time of 3pm.” But I didn’t. I waited just in case someone was planning to join me. I started running at 3, just like I said I would.
Less than a mile into the run it started sprinkling. Then it started pouring. And it kept pouring.
I joyfully splashed my way through the 5k and actually ran a little faster than my typical happy pace. I ran exactly 3.1 miles in 22:54.8. That is an average pace of 7:24 per mile.
I’m not sure how to explain the faster pace in worse conditions. Perhaps I should take my cue from Milli Vanilli and blame it on the rain. There was certainly plenty of it. I actually enjoy running in the rain, so maybe that made the difference.
Perhaps a better explanation for my slightly faster pace could be found in the epic turn of the century Baha Men anthem, “Who Let the Dogs Out?” At a little over a mile into the run a large dog came running out of a driveway and either ran with me or chased me (I’m not sure which) for at least half a mile. I’m thinking that half mile was my fastest stretch…
After Cujo gave up and went home my pace slowed down a bit (as did my heart rate).
There were basically three main things rolling through my mind as I ran this afternoon.
First, I was thinking that I was wet.
Second, I was thinking that I was cold.
Third, I was thinking about commitment.
Earlier this week I wrote about commitment, but today I was thinking about it from a different angle. Previously I mentioned the importance of commitment in order for individuals to really grow. I still think that is true, but today I was thinking of the importance of commitment in order to help others grow.
A lot of people that I talk to about church -especially if they were once committed but are not nearly as committed any longer, will tell me that they are still growing. Perhaps that is true. It is certainly possible for someone to grow spiritually outside of the church (though I still don’t believe they will grow as quickly or completely). But their personal growth is really only one side of the coin.
My growth is the other side.
If they are not committed to the church, then they are not committed to my growth (and by default I cannot be tangibly committed to theirs).
It’s like this: let’s say a football team has an incredible quarterback. He is convinced he can get better on his own, so he no longer comes to practice. While it is possible that he could, in fact, continue to get better by staying at home and throwing thousands of footballs in his backyard, he is in no way whatsoever making the wide receiver better. He is not tangibly contributing to the growth of the rest of the team.
Commitment to the church (just like commitment to practically any other group of people) is a two-way street. Your commitment causes you to grow, and your commitment helps me to grow.
Somehow we have lost a lot of that understanding in the Western church. Everything has become so personalized and individualized, that we can often see God as our Father, but we struggle to see his other children as our brothers and sisters.
I was especially mindful of this as I was running in the rain and wishing that someone were with me, sharing the experience, encouraging me or being encouraged by me, and helping keep the dog from biting my behind…