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“All I know most surely about morality and obligation I owe to football”,

Albert Camus

Perseverance

My only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me Acts 20:24

The story of John Stephen Akhwari from Tanzania has been told and re-told. In the 1968 Mexico Olympic Marathon, Akhwari was injured in a fall early in the race, leaving him in no state to run a competitive race. As he limped across the finish line, over an hour after the winner, he was asked why he did not just quit. He replied, “My country did not send me 7,000 miles to start the race”.

Anyone who has ever run has experienced a day when the body will not work and the finish seems impossibly far off. The satisfaction of getting to the finish line alive is immense.

As we get older, we become more conscious of the need to finish a particular race – often a relay race where we complete our lap and pass on the baton to a younger generation.

This is an area where there is a clear parallel between the Christian life and the sporting life and one can help the other – not that they are necessarily separate from each other. The discipline and determination that kept John Stephen Akhwari battling the pain to the finish can also help us through difficult times in ministry.

As players (or coaches or administrators) let us always be known and those who persevere and don’t easily give up. Let us also be those who finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given us.



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