Like Manning, we Christians are called to finish the race. Another lesser known athlete competed in the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City. After John Stephen Akhwari fell as he was running the 42 km race, he badly injured his knee and shoulder. Almost three and half hours after he had started the race, Akhwari crossed the finish line in front of a very small crowd of people. Most of the crowd had already left. When a reporter asked Akhwari why he had continued running, he replied that the country of Tanzania had not sent him to start the race but to finish it.
My assistant principal recently shared Akhwari’s story with me, and we agreed that educators also struggle to finish the race they are running. In the midst of state tests and constantly changing technology, we often question if we are making any progress. We may be forced to change our game plan, we may become injured or dehydrated, we may fall and need assistance, but we are all called to finish the race.
Whether we are competing in the Super Bowl, running an Olympic marathon, preparing students for the future, or going about our daily routines of living, we are called to finish the race. We may face daily frustrations, physical limitations, emotional stumbling blocks, or societal criticisms; but we need to put our shoulders to the wheel and forge ahead.
When Christ prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, he struggled to carry out God’s plan. Carrying his own cross up the hill of Golgotha, he stumbled and needed help; however, he was called to finish the race.
Finishing first or last is insignificant. God did not send His son to start the race but to finish it. Likewise, he calls us to “press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called [us] heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:13)