I heard these words after I learned to row competitively in college many moons ago. They sound like “et vu (with the long “u” sound, but no vowel sound as in “view”) pray… partay.” They continue to have significance in my life, though I rarely hear them, and more rarely use them. They are French (I understand, because I have never taken any French lessons whatsoever!) and I was told they mean, “Are you ready?… Leave!” These are the words used to start a rowing race.
Well, now that you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you are “out of the starting blocks” as the saying goes, and you have begun the race. Yes, what you have done can be compared to a race. The Apostle Paul, one of the major writers of the New Testament compared his life, and thereby the Christian life, to a race. But as has been said many times by many people, it’s not a sprint, but a marathon.
My daughter runs marathons and she tells me the marathoner will often begin a race a bit differently than the other parts of the race. That sort of thinking can be applied in lots of areas of life. She says she has heard, if I remember correctly, that most – maybe all (?) – of the marathon world records are set by those who do not start out running at a fast pace, but by those who begin their race at a less-than-race pace. Then towards the end of the marathon, they begin to really pick up the pace so that the last – what… four miles, six miles, or more – give it all they can. But one needs to remember the goal is to cross the finish line, not just completely exhaust yourself, but fall short of the finish line. So she starts her race for the first mile or so at a “comfortable” pace to get into the flow and the mindset of actually racing. Then she picks up the pace for few miles and then later still begins to pick it up more with a higher than average race pace until about the 20 mile mark or so. Then about then the “pushing the personal envelope” mindset is engaged and the body really begins to get tested.
In my rowing competitions, we would have a set of strokes to initially get the racing shell moving – like 3 to 5 strokes that were partial strokes, like half and three quarter length strokes at full power, then we would have a set of 20 or so strokes to really put in as much power as we could at full stroke length at a higher rate of rowing. Then we would transition into a lower stroke rate and power we could maintain for much of the race. We would finish the race with an all out, highest rate possible to maintain and at full power (whatever might be left by then) until we cross the finish line.
The Christian life will sometimes be similar to a race start. It does depend on the person though, as well as what God may want to do in your life. But do keep in mind the Christian life is more like a marathon than a sprint at the beginning. So think about the marathon beginning of not starting at full power, race pace, compared to the rowing start I described.
Something that could correlate in the Christian life to a race start could be something like telling a number of people of your decision. That number should be at least 1! But preferably it should be a few, or maybe many. Don’t worry about the other things to come later. The more people you tell early on in your Christian walk, then the easier it will be from then on. It gives you a great “boost” out of the starting gate for you. Jesus said that we will be His witnesses (see Acts [that’s short for “The Acts of the Apostles”] 1:8 [that means chapter 1, and verse 8] in the Bible), so the only question is whether we’ll be a good witness or a bad one. I’m confident you will want to be a good one.
So write down a list of names of relatives, friends, co-workers or co-students you think it would be good to tell. Do that now… I’ll wait while you make the list… [key the background music]
OK – have your list? I hope so. If not, go back and finish just writing your list.
Now pick one name from your list and give that person a call and tell them what you did – that you gave your life to Jesus Christ and you received Him as your Lord and Savior. If they ask why, you can share your answer, but also if you’re not quite ready to do that, direct them to this blog and “The Greatest Question” blog post. That may be just what they need – your sharing of your decision – to think about eternity and to be ready.
You’re in the race! Good for you!
Don’t forget… call at least one person and them what you have done. That’s it! If they ask questions, fine. Answer them the best you can. If they don’t respond much at all, that’s fine too.
And read your Bible at least a little bit every day.
And if you have questions, I’ll be glad to try and answer them in my blog. Just leave them as a comment. All comments are moderated before being posted to the web. And needless to say, we won’t allow vulgar, obscene, etc. types of posts to be posted. But we want your honest and sincere questions and comments.
And remember what we most likely were told in school… there are no stupid questions.
I look forward to hearing from you, and God bless you in your walk with God.
To God be the glory!