Sermon

Run with Endurance

Theme

Run with endurance the race that God has set before us.

Object

A trophy or medal

Scripture

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Hebrews 12:1-2 (NLT)

Children's Sermon: Run with Endurance (Hebrews 12:1-2)

Have you ever won a trophy or a medal for something? (Allow time for responses.) When we think of medals, we often think of the Olympics – gold, silver, and bronze. One of my favorite things to watch in the Olympics are the track races where people run faster than anyone else in the world! 

 Several years ago when the Olympics were held in Barcelona, Spain, the world saw one of the greatest moments in Olympic history. A young man named Derek Redmond had dreamed all his life of winning a gold medal in the 400 meter race. He had worked hard to get to the Olympics and his dream was within his reach. He was in the semi-finals and was running the race of his life. He could see the finish line just ahead as he rounded the final turn. Suddenly, he felt a sharp pain in the back of his leg and he fell to the track with a torn muscle in his right leg.

 Derek struggled to his feet and started to hop toward the finish line on one foot in an attempt to finish the race. (Hop on one leg.) Suddenly, a large man came out of the stands, pushed aside a security guard and ran to Derek's side. It was Derek's father, Jim Redmond. "You don't have to do this," he told his son. "Yes, I do," said Derek. "Well, then," said his father, "we're going to finish this together."

And they did. They stayed in Derek's lane all the way to the end. At first, the crowd watched in silence. Then they rose to their feet and cheered -- and wept.

Derek Redmond didn't win the gold medal, but he walked away with the incredible memory of a loving father who, when he saw his son in pain, left his seat in the stands to help him finish the race.

Our Bible lesson today describes a race that you and I are running that is even bigger and more important than the Olympics. In Hebrews we learn that, "Since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses, let us run the race that God has set before us. Throw aside anything that will slow you down. Keep your eyes on Jesus." What is this race that we have before us? It is the race of following the example that Jesus set for us and expects us to follow as one of His disciples. It is a race of obedience to God's Word and faithfulness to Jesus' call to "Follow me." (Hebrews 12:1-2)

Life is like a race that has been set before us. We may struggle and face many obstacles, but we have a great crowd of witnesses who are cheering us on. We have a Heavenly Father who loves us and will help us when the pain is too great. We have a Savior, who left His place in heaven and came to earth to show us how to run the race. If we will keep our eyes on Him, how can we help but finish the race?

Dear Jesus, sometimes life is difficult. Help us to keep our eyes on You and to run the race that is before us. In Jesus' name we pray, amen.

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