The Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon finished its 18th year a few weeks ago. Run to Remember: that simple combination of words sums it up. I like both of these words, “run” and “remember;” both are biblical words. As followers of Jesus Christ, we are running and remembering.
Of course the Bible challenges us in Heb. 12:1 to “run with endurance the race that has been set before us.” Our life of faith compares to running a marathon in a number of ways. There is a beginning, a middle and an end. We encounter obstacles and grow weary, yet press on to finish. We share the course with other runners and strive for the prize. We even have a great cloud of witnesses, those who have run before us, watching as we run our leg of the race. Those witnesses remind us of the biblical call to remember.
The word “remember” is used more than 250 times in the Bible. One of the most compelling is Heb. 13:7-8, “Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” We are challenged to remember those who established us in the faith. This might be your grandparent or parent, maybe a pastor or friend, or maybe a Sunday School teacher from years past. Take some time to remember and reflect.
As we remember, we imitate. Notice the progression of memory: inspiration, information, imitation. We do not imitate their personality; we imitate their faith. Remember the doctrines they held firm; remember their devotion to the Lord and imitate their faith. As Memorial Day approaches, let’s take time to remember.
I am remembering those who worked, prayed and sacrificed to build all that Oklahoma Baptists have today—our institutions and our influence. Our churches were planted by the sacrificial devotion of faithful men and women giving their time, money and prayerful effort. Falls Creek was carved out of the mountains through their efforts. Sacrificial giving produced our ministries and institutions. We benefit from the wise stewardship of resources and responsibilities of those who ran their race before us. We remember them.
We will be remembered. We should run knowing that one day we will be remembered. If our Lord tarries, our days will pass, and another generation will come to examine our lives carefully. They will examine our conduct, our way of life, our priorities, our habits and our patterns. They will observe the result of our lives, laying the whole course out to consider the outcome.
Our personal sense of fulfillment will not matter much to the generations that follow. I want my grandkids to be able to say two things about me: he was faithful, and he finished. Let’s remember as we run, and let’s run knowing that we will be remembered.