Several years ago, I read about the world’s longest foot race. It’s called the Self-Transcendence 3100 Mile Race, held between the months of June and August every year. According to a Reuters report, “The longest foot race in the world is 3,100 miles, long enough to stretch from New York to Los Angeles. Those who run it choose a different route: they circle one city block in Queens — for two months straight.
“The athletes lap their block more than 5,000 times. They wear out 12 pairs of shoes. They run more than two marathons daily. In the heat and rain of a New York summer, they stop for virtually nothing except to sleep between midnight and 6 a.m.”
I find it incredible that anybody can run that far for that long. But perhaps what I find even more incredible is that it is done by running the same half-mile stretch over and over and over. If the running didn’t kill me, the monotony would!
But I thought of what a great picture that is of life. We often talk about how the Christian life is a “race” (I Cor. 9:24; 2 Tim. 4:7; Heb. 12:1). And it is a long, long race. But I don’t know how often we have considered that the difficulty in the race is not only in its length, but also in its monotony. So much of what we do is repetitive and “mundane.”
A Christian mother works hard to demonstrate her faith in taking care of her husband and children. But, every day seems just like the day before — diapers to be changed, clothes to be washed, dirty dishes to be cleaned, a house to be vacuumed and swept. The same thing over and over and over.
A Christian father works hard to demonstrate his faith by providing for his family and living out his faith in the workplace. But every day seems just like the day before — fighting the traffic to and from work, working on an assembly line doing the same job repetitively day after day, dealing with hard-to-please customers. The same thing over and over and over.
One of the difficulties in living life (and the Christian life in particular) is in hanging in there through those difficult times when it seems that you’re running across the same ground over and over. Be assured, though — if you can survive the monotony and continue to run, the finish line lies ahead. Continue to plod on. And keep this promise in your heart:
“Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” (I Cor. 15:58)