The heavenly race
“So run, that ye may obtain.” 1 Corinthians 9:24
suggested further reading: Hebrews 11:39–12:2
When zealous racers on yonder heath are flying across the plain, seeking to obtain the reward, the whole heath is covered with multitudes of persons, who are eagerly gazing upon them, and no doubt the noise of those who cheer them onward and the thousand eyes of those who look upon them, have a tendency to make them stretch every nerve, and press with vigour on. It was so in the games to which the apostle alludes. There the people sat on raised platforms, while the racers ran before them, and they cried to them, and the friends of the racers urged them forward, and the kindly voice would ever be heard bidding them go on. Now, Christian brethren, how many witnesses are looking down upon you. Down! Do I say? It is even so. From the battlements of heaven the angels look down upon you, and they seem to cry today to you with sweet, silvery voice, “Ye shall reap if ye faint not; ye shall be rewarded if ye continue steadfast in the work and faith of Christ.” And the saints look down upon you—Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; martyrs and confessors, and your own pious relatives who have ascended to heaven, look down upon you; and if I might so speak, I think sometimes you might hear the clapping of their hands when you have resisted temptation and overcome the enemy; and you might see their suspense when you are lagging in the course, and you might hear their friendly word of caution as they bid you gird up the loins of your mind, and lay aside every weight, and still speed forward; never resting to take your breath, never staying for a moment’s ease till you have attained the flowery beds of heaven, where you may rest for ever.
for meditation: Do Spurgeon’s words, spoken on a Friday afternoon from the “Grand Stand, Epsom Race-course” strike you as over-fanciful? The pages of Scripture are full of lessons from the heroes of faith, still speaking to us down the centuries (Hebrews 11:4). They witness to us from their own experience “It can be done; by God’s grace we ran the race; by God’s grace you can run it too” (2 Timothy 4:7).
sermon no. 198