I spent my entire morning and much of the afternoon helping time a race in Canton, OH. My brother owns a race timing company, Vertical Runner Race Management, and they had more races to time today than people available to help them, so I offered to help him out. The race finished at Gervasi Vineyards, and it was called, “Sweat Now, Wine Later”.
I was taking care of the start line. The runners would take off from my position, two people at a time. They would start by crossing the starting line to activate their timing chip, and then they would run for about 100 yards to a creek, where they would immediately get into a kayak. Once they were in the kayak, the next two participants would take off across the starting line and run towards the creek. Participants would kayak downstream for 1.5 miles, then get out of the kayak and run 2.5 miles to the finish line, where they would collect their finishers wine glass.
It was a fun event! I was there at 7:30am to set up, and we were not finished tearing down until around 3:30pm, so I was not able to get a Saturday morning 5k in, but it’s cool… I decided to run as soon as I got home, even though it was pouring down rain. I was already wet, anyway.
Unfortunately, it rained quite a bit during the event, and the starting line area was in a field that was freshly mown… which means there was grass and mud everywhere. That grass and mud wound up becoming a significant part of my shoes. So when I started running my daily 5k at around 4:45pm in the rain, I basically only had two thoughts in mind.
- I needed to run at least a 5k in distance… any pace would do.
- I wanted to clean my grassy, muddy, filthy shoes.
So I headed out to clean my shoes by running a nice, easy 5k in the rain. No need to dodge the puddles… bring them on!
When my watch clicked over for the first mile, I noticed that it was not a bad pace at all. 7:34. Cool! That is 7 minutes and 34 seconds worth of shoe cleaning!
I felt good, so I just kept going. I was soaking wet, but it was no problem. The right gear makes all of the difference in the world. I was wearing my awesome Mountain Hardware rain jacket, and HeadSweats hat, Swiftwick socks, and running shorts. I was hooked up, and my Nike Zoom Pegasus shoes were getting cleaner every moment… Life is good.
The next mile was mostly uphill, but that’s fine. Running uphill is for winners. I was surprised when I got to the top of the hill and my next mile clicked over at a 7:32 pace. How was I faster?!
For the third mile, I was running slightly downhill. Yay! When my third mile clicked over at a 7:08 pace, I had an unexpected decision to make… This is turning in to a pretty great run. I have about a mile left before I am back home. Should I just go for it?
Well… my shoes were already clean by now. The last mile was mostly flat with a little bit of uphill at the end. Why not just go for it?!
So I did.
I decided to finish strong.
The fourth and final mile clicked over at 6:51. Great mile!
I would say that I nailed my goals for today. I ran 4 miles. My shoes were clean. My average overall pace was an unexpected 7:16 per mile.
Aside from thinking about having clean shoes and accomplishing my minimal distance goal for today, I also found myself thinking a lot about Jesus.
This is the verse from today’s reading that stood out to me the most:
The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is justified by her deeds.”(Matthew 11:19, ESV)
I can’t help but wonder, do we really know Jesus? I mean the real Jesus.
Is there room in our theology for the real Jesus?
What do we do with a Jesus who came eating and drinking?
I think we tend to have a version of Jesus in our minds who acts holier than thou. (To be fair, Jesus was holier than anyone else, but this was not something that He actively bragged about or rubbed in people’s faces.)
It is also important to point out that Jesus was not a drunkard or a glutton. He was just called a drunkard and a glutton… likely because he drank alcohol and was often at great feasts. (And yes, by all reasonable understanding, we can assume that He drank responsibly. But according to the picture that we have in the gospels, He did drink alcohol.)
This is not the only time Jesus was misunderstood, or mischaracterized, in the chapters that we read today.
He is accused of breaking the Sabbath in chapter 12. Of course, He didn’t actually break the Sabbath (or He wasn’t a sinless savior), but He did break the man-made version of the Sabbath.
Even worse, He was accused of receiving power to cast out demons by Satan, himself. Not cool, bro. Not cool.
In His own words in chapter 10, Jesus tells us not to misunderstand Him.
“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.”(Matthew 10:34, ESV)
When we read the gospels, do we allow Jesus to be who He actually is, or do we, like the religious leaders and even His own disciples, try to make Him who we think He is?