Here we go! 5k Every Day in the Month of May 2018 has officially begun!
This morning I woke up in Bentonville, AR. I had a cup of coffee and a conversation about Jesus with my buddy, Chris Selby. Then I drove into the heart of Walmartville -oops! I mean Bentonville, to meet with another good buddy, Rocky Favia. Rocky and I decided to start this #5kMay2018 off with a morning run together.
Bentonville is a really nice city, other than the fact that the traffic is horrific. No worries for runners, though, because of the incredible, elaborate trail system that runs throughout the city. Rocky and I ran a nice, smooth 5k+ on the “Razorback Trail”. We ran a total of 4.05 miles in 31 minutes and 34 seconds, which is an average pace of 7:47 per mile.
Full disclosure, my muscles were still pretty sore from the Kentucky Derby Marathon on Saturday morning. I was especially experiencing some discomfort in my right hamstring. It seemed to get better as I ran, so I don’t expect it to be any kind of #5kMay2018 ending injury, but it was pretty tender. Hopefully the problem will not persist.
Today’s Bible reading was Matthew 1-3. I listened to the chapters on my way to meet with Rocky (thanks for the idea, Missy Lemon). I have to admit two things from the beginning.
- It is hard for me sometimes to really pay attention to passages like Matthew 1-3 because I have read them so many times. It is easy to approach these pages with a “been there, done that” mentality, but I have to fight against it because that mentality really robs me of the beauty of scripture! I really believe that the Bible is the very word of God, and that the word of God is living and active, sharper than any double-edged sword, and able to discern the thoughts and intentions of my heart (see Hebrews 4:12). In short, I believe that God has something specific to speak to me TODAY, even if it is through something that I have read 100 times in the past.
- The genealogies… oh the genealogies… it can be very difficult to wade through the genealogies. As pointed out above, I believe that the word of God is living and active. I also believe that ALL of scripture is God-breathed and is profitable (see 2 Timothy 3:16). So I do believe that the genealogies are important. However, I did not sense the Spirit of God inviting me to dive deeper into the genealogies today. Instead, I essentially moved on to the “good stuff”.
If either of these confessions resonate with you, it’s okay. God understands. This #5kMay2018 challenge (especially the Bible reading portion) is not about diving into the fullest depths of who God is. It is simply about being reminded, or perhaps discovering for the first time, how awesome Jesus is. That is what it is about for me, anyway.
Today I was reminded about how awesome Jesus is through the overwhelming providence of God. Did you notice how many times the hand of God moved in Matthew 1 alone? Let’s just take a quick look:
- Mary was found to be “with child” by the Holy Spirit (Matthew 1:18)
- Joseph was visited by an angel of God to keep him from divorcing Mary (Matthew 1:20)
- All of this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet (Matthew 1:22)
And that is just Matthew 1!
Throughout the reading today, I was humbled by the fact that God is working out His plan, and His plan cannot be stopped! This is good news!
So many times I fall into the trap of thinking that so many aspects of life depend on me. This is simply not true.
While I do believe that we should be faithful in doing our part (like Mary did with actually carrying and delivering baby Jesus, and like Joseph did with taking Mary to be his wife even though she was carrying someone else’s child), I believe that we are ultimately called to rest in the awareness that God is in control.
One of the things that I am most passionate about is telling others about Jesus. I did not grow up in church. I did not grow up knowing Jesus. I grew up very far from God. I succeeded only in making a huge mess of my life -but Jesus died for me on the cross, forgave me for all of my sins, and loved me even when I was far from Him. At the age of 21, I cried out to God and asked Him to reveal Himself to me (if He was real). And He did! In a miraculous way, God revealed Himself to me. No one could ever convince me that God is not real, because I know from first-hand experience that He is. I know that He loves me. I know that He is leading me. I know that I will be with Him forever in heaven. #YAY!
Now I want everyone else to know what I didn’t know for so many years! Sometimes I feel like the only way they will find out is if I tell them. I fall into the trap of thinking that it depends on me.
That is simply not true.
In these chapters, we see God revealing His plan through dreams and visions, or by sending angels. He is still doing this today! While I traveled overseas as a missionary in Islamic nations, I was amazed by the number of people I met who came to faith in Christ as a result of God showing up in their dreams. No missionary shared the GOSPEL with them. Jesus did. He is doing this all over the earth! #YAYGOD!
So does that mean that I should not share my faith? Since God is in control, and since He is doing it without me, should I just be silent and let Him do His thing?
In today’s reading we were also introduced to John the Baptist. If ever there was a man who was bold about sharing his faith, it was John the Baptist! He spoke freely and passionately about God, but He also rested in the awareness that God was ultimately in control.
I think that is what true followers of Christ are called to do. I think this mentality produces the most satisfied believers.
I personally believe (and I believe these chapters show us) that followers of Christ are called to work diligently as though the results depend on us, and rest peacefully knowing that the results ultimately depend on God.
Maybe the clearest place to see this healthy tension in scripture is found in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians:
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:8–10, ESV)
As we roll through this year’s “5k Every Day in the Month of May”, may you work as though the results depend on you, but rest in the fact that God is ultimately in control.
*5k Every Day in the Month of May 2018 is brought to you by Jeff Polen Music and Vertical Runner of Wooster. If you are joining the fun, don’t forget about the Facebook group, the Strava group, and the printable PDF.