At the Seattle Special Olympics, nine contestants, all physically or mentally challenged, assembled at the starting line for the 100-yard dash. When the gun sounded, they all started out, not exactly in a dash, but with a relish to run the race to the finish and win. All, that is, except one little boy who stumbled on the asphalt, tumbled over a couple of times, and began to cry.
The other eight heard the boy cry. They slowed down and looked back. Then they all turned around and went back… every one of them. One girl with Down’s Syndrome bent down and kissed him and said, "This will make it better." Then all nine linked arms and walked together to the finish line.
Everyone in the stadium stood. The cheering went on for several minutes. People who were there are still telling the story. Why?… Because deep down we know this one thing: What matters in this life is more than winning for ourselves. What matters in this life is helping others win, even if it means slowing down and changing our own course.
In 1 Thessalonians 5:11, God calls us to encourage one another and lift each other up, and yet we go through this life in a race to win, often ignoring the people around us. In Matthew 5:16, we are told to let our light shine before men in such a way that they may see our good works, and glorify our Father who is in heaven.
Our lives are supposed to reflect the light of Jesus within us, causing people around us to glorify God… but that can only happen when we allow our lives to be instruments of encouragement and hope. We need to involve ourselves in the lives of others by allowing the compassion of Christ and the sensitivity of the Holy Spirit to lead us.
Today, stop trying to win the race and "Encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing." 1 Thessalonians 5:11