For several weeks recently I spent a lot of time in the hospital where my son was being treated. One day as I was walking through the halls to get yet another cup of coffee, I noticed on a wall a glass case with a fire extinguisher inside. Across the front of the case were 4 large letters… R A C E. That seemed a bit odd so I decided to delay my mission and read on.
RACE did not mean “Hurry” or “Run For Your Lives”! It was a very interesting acronym.
R – Rescue the patients…
A – Activate the alarm…
C – Close off the corridors…
E – Extinguish the fire…
In a way people can remember, RACE set out the goals for whenever there’s a fire. And just as the letters must come together to form the word, so each of these activities must come together in order to properly take care of a danger that threatens lives. Focusing on only one part doesn’t get the job done.
If I only rescue the patients, other lives are ignored and put in jeopardy. If all I do is sound the alarm, I put all of the responsibility for saving lives and putting out the fire on others who may not be able to get there in time. If I close off the corridors as I run out of the building, not only are lives ignored and possibly lost, but the benefit of my effort is temporary at best. And what if I focus solely on putting out the fire? Well, if the fire is greater than what I can handle…all is lost.
As I stood there staring at the glass case, my hands beginning to shake from caffeine deprivation, I realized something. This idea behind RACE works for the Body of Christ, too. Whether we’re talking about the Church, a ministry, or the life of one believer, it all applies.
Rescue the lost and hurting… by being there…listening…caring…gaining knowledge.
Activate the warning… by telling others of the problem…calling for help…seeking wisdom.
Close off what feeds the danger… by sharing the truth…exposing the lies…finding discernment.
Extinguish the threat… by taking a stand…following the example of the One who survived the fire.
The author of Hebrews wrote, “Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” (Hebrews 12:1). “Race” here is not meant as a competition, but a way of life. I believe RACE also describes that life. In this time of spiritual war, if we fail to rescue the lost and hurting, if we do not activate the alarm to warn others and call for help, if we choose not to close off what feeds the danger, and if we refuse to allow God to work in and through our lives to extinguish the evil around us…then he who is in the world wins the battle.
Remember the RACE of life.