While watching the 2018 Winter Olympics tonight, I was reminded of the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico. John Stephen Akhwari of Tanzania was excited. He was about to run the marathon with runners from around the world.
The starter’s pistol fired and the race began. A little over 2 hours later, the first runner crossed the finish line. Other runners finished the race shortly afterwards, but John was not among them. Over an hour after the winner had crossed the finish line, with only a few spectators remaining in the stands, John Stephen Ahkwari finally entered the stadium.
Bandaged and bloody, John finally crossed the finish line. Bud Greenspan, the renown sports reporter, asked John why he didn’t just quit. He answered, “My country did not send me 5000 miles to Mexico City to start the race. They sent me here to finish.”
John Stephen Akhwari did not receive a prize or a medal, but he did endure. He didn’t just start the race, he finished it. God did not call us just to start the Christian race, he called us to finish it!
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” (2 Tim 4:7)
“But this one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13-14)