What’s the reason for (your) running?

The Running Father (God)People run – they run toward or from something or some goal, they run for a cause like to be fit, they run by opportunities…

My good brother and believer in the Lord, Patrick Pitchappa, was a member of the Goldman Sachs Mixed running team that won the gold medal in the prestigious Puma Urban stampede event in August 2015. He was also named the running Ambassador in the 2012 Hyderabad Marathon. I asked him the question, “Why do you run?” and his response was in addition to the obvious physical health benefits, when he runs, he feels that it connects him closer to our Creator God. He quotes one verse after all his runs from Psalm 139:14 which states, “I praise you (God) because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” In other words, Patrick was expressing that not only was he running to be physically fit, but more importantly to be spiritually fit, as well. Eric Liddell, Scottish missionary to China and winner of the 400 meters event in the 1924 Olympics in Paris, refused to run his more favored event of 100 meters because it was going to be on a Sabbath, choosing God over gold. As an heptathlon athlete, I ran during my high school years in several intra- and inter-school events, sprinting in individual events, winning the gold medal or in relay races with a team, enduring to win. I now run to be physically fit and for conditioning the body to be fit to do Shaolin Do Kung Fu with our beloved firstborn son, Reuben. So while there may be many reasons as to why people run, the fact of the matter is people run.

In the Bible, we see accounts of people running as well. The Father of the prodigal son ran toward his returning son (Luke 15:20). Elijah, God’s true prophet ran faster than king Ahab’s chariot (1 Kings 18:44-46) when God’s power came upon him. David ran toward the giant Goliath before winning the battle for Israel in the Name of the Lord (1 Samuel 17:48,51). Ahimaaz, the son of Zadok the high priest ran irrespective of what the outcome could be (2 Kings 18:19-28).

In the account of the eldest servant of Abraham, seeking a wife for Isaac, his the master’s son, we see that the servant ran to fulfill the master’s mission (Genesis 24:17), while Rebekah the wife-to-be ran to serve the servant (Genesis 24:18-20) and her brother Laban ran to invite the servant into their household (Genesis 24:29-30).

Cursorily it may seem that Laban the brother of Rebekah was an extremely hospitable man as was the custom of that day and age, however, with the Bible completely canonized by the Holy Spirit of God, with deeper scrutiny, we have more insights into Laban’s character. Laban beguiled his nephew Jacob by giving Leah his first daughter in marriage instead of Rachel the second daughter as promised (Genesis 29). Laban agreed quickly to Jacob’s proposal when he felt that it would be more favorable for him in the distribution of the sheeps and goats (Genesis 30-31). These accounts, in addition to the record that Laban ran after he saw the jewelry (earrings and bracelet) that the servant of Abraham had given to his sister Rebekah indicates that he was likely driven to run for selfish gain instead of a sense of serving or hospitality.

Points to ponder:
You and I may be running toward, or from, or for, something or someone. What are we running for? Are we running to fulfill our Master’s mission (John 13:13) i.e., God’s mission? Are we running to serve as people of God? or Are we running for personal gain? What is the reason for (your) running?

Genesis 24: 29-30 (KJV)
29 And Rebekah had a brother, and his name was Laban: and Laban ran out unto the man, unto the well.
30 And it came to pass, when he saw the earring and bracelets upon his sister’s hands, and when he heard the words of Rebekah his sister, saying, Thus spake the man unto me; that he came unto the man; and, behold, he stood by the camels at the well.

Hebrews 12:1-2 (KJV)
Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Lesser known characters :: Ahimaaz

Ahimaaz was the son of Zadok the high priest who served in the time of David. When Absalom, king David’s own son rebels and revolts against his father, David’s counselor Ahithophel, switches sides and counsels Absalom on a strategy to kill king David. Absalom wants to get a second opinion on Ahithophel’s plan and consults with Hushai, the Archite, who was David’s friend.  Hushai, sends word about Ahithophel plan to kill king David, through the priests Zadok and Abiathar, who send this message with their children Ahimaaz (Zadok’s son) and Jonathan (Abiathar’s son) (2 Samuel 15:24-37). Ahimaaz was known to be a sprinter, fast on his feet, and along with Jonathan, Ahimaaz brings the warning message to king David (2 Samuel 17:15-22).

Ahimaaz, was not only known to bring a warning message. Later, when Absalom is killed by Joab, he asks Joab permission to take the victory message to king David, but Joab instead purposes to send a Cushite. The Cushite bows to Joab and then starts to run to deliver the message. Ahimaaz continues to persevere and asks Joab again, permission to be the messenger of the victory news. Joab questions Ahimaaz, why do you want to be the bearer of the news that will bring you no reward (since the victory was as a result of the death of the king’s son Absalom), but Ahimaaz replies, “Come what may, I want to run.” Let me run behind the Cushite.”  Joab agrees, and Ahimaaz starts to run (by the plain) and outruns the Cushite, becoming the first to be the bearer of the news of God’s vindication against the enemies of the Lord’s anointed, king David. (2 Samuel 18:19-33). David refers to Ahimaaz as a good man, who brings good tidings/news. (2 Samuel 18:27)

What can we learn from Ahimaaz?
We must be runners for God, running the race with our eyes fixed on the prize. We must adorn ourselves with the shoes fitted with readiness for that which comes from the gospel of peace, which is warning of the enemy’s attacks against God’s saints and the message of the victory against the vanquished foe, the devil, who rebelled against the Lord’s anointed, Jesus Christ. Irrespective of the outcome, come what may, we must want to run.

Can the King of kings and the Lord of lords, say of you and me, “He/she is a good person, who brings good tidings/news of mine to my people?”

2 Kings 18: 19-28 (KJV)
Then said Ahimaaz the son of Zadok, Let me now run, and bear the king tidings, how that the LORD hath avenged him of his enemies.
20 And Joab said unto him, Thou shalt not bear tidings this day, but thou shalt bear tidings another day: but this day thou shalt bear no tidings, because the king’s son is dead.
21 Then said Joab to Cushi, Go tell the king what thou hast seen. And Cushi bowed himself unto Joab, and ran.
22 Then said Ahimaaz the son of Zadok yet again to Joab, But howsoever, let me, I pray thee, also run after Cushi. And Joab said, Wherefore wilt thou run, my son, seeing that thou hast no tidings ready?
23 But howsoever, said he, let me run. And he said unto him, Run. Then Ahimaaz ran by the way of the plain, and overran Cushi.
And David sat between the two gates: and the watchman went up to the roof over the gate unto the wall, and lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold a man running alone.

25 And the watchman cried, and told the king. And the king said, If he be alone, there is tidings in his mouth. And he came apace, and drew near.
26 And the watchman saw another man running: and the watchman called unto the porter, and said, Behold another man running alone. And the king said, He also bringeth tidings.
27 And the watchman said, Me thinketh the running of the foremost is like the running of Ahimaaz the son of Zadok. And the king said, He is a good man, and cometh with good tidings.
28 And Ahimaaz called, and said unto the king, All is well. And he fell down to the earth upon his face before the king, and said, Blessed be the LORD thy God, which hath delivered up the men that lifted up their hand against my lord the king.

Hebrews 12:1 (KJV)
1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,

Ephesians 6:14-15 (KJV)
14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;