Have you seen the movie, Secretariat? I have now watched it four times, and each time I watch it I find another connection the screenwriter (story teller) has managed to connect the unique life of a record setting Triple Crown winning race horse to the Christian story. When this happens, I am reminded of the call that the apostle Paul had on his life to preach/share the Good News of Christ.
In the movie, Penny Chenery Tweedy (the owner of Secretariat) and colleagues guide her long-shot but precocious stallion to set, in 1973, the unbeaten record for winning the Triple Crown. Penny becomes the owner of Secretariat when life begins to unravel and then to be rewoven as her mother dies and she finds herself returning to owning and managing a horse breeding farm. Her father’s health is also deteriorating, and in her remembering her childhood we see a scene with her father telling her that she has to “run her race.”
In 1 Corinthians 9 the Apostle Paul writes his argument of why he preaches the Good News and encourages us to do the same. “Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified. (v. 24-27, New Living Translation)
Are you disciplined in your training? Are you running with purpose in every step? Is your discipline in training and your purpose in every step about sharing the Good News of the abundant life–we are free to live life because we are children of God–full of grace that overflows to not only forgive others but to also forgive ourselves as we run our race with discipline.
What are our disciplines?
In his book, Celebration of Discipline, Richard Foster identifies these disciplines: the inward Disciplines of meditation, prayer, fasting, and study, offer avenues of personal examination and change. The outward Disciplines of simplicity, solitude, submission, and service, help prepare us to make the world a better place. The corporate Disciplines of confession, worship, guidance, and celebration, bring us nearer to one another and to God.
Watch the movie, Secretariat, read the book Celebration of Discipline, and begin the season of Lent running with a purpose in every step.