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.

Guides of God

On our visit to the Taj Mahal the November of 2009, we were approached by many at the entrance who kept asking us if we wanted to hire them as guides. The Taj Mahal is a testament of a man’s love for his bride. We did not feel the need to, but observed that there were others who had hired these guides. The guides functioned in explaining the history and details of the beautiful Taj Mahal and those who used these guides got a deeper and more personal understanding of the monument.

The Bible also talks about guides and in one particular instance has a person asking as to how he can understand the Scripture (what he read) unless some man guided him. This is recorded in the encounter of Philip with the Ethiopian Treasurer. As the Ethiopian man of authority was returning from Jerusalem, where he had come to worship, sat in his chariot, reading the Scripture prophesied by prophet Isaiah, Philip led by the Spirit of God ran toward him and on hearing the Ethiopian, asked him, as to whether the man understood what he was reading. The Ethiopian’s response was not only straightforward, but profound as well. He merely questioned “How can I, except some man should guide me?” (Acts 8:31). Philip subsequently preached to the man that led to his salvation as he believed in Jesus Christ, the Agnus Dei (lamb of God who took away the sins of the world) and was baptized.

We ought to be guides of God as well. We ought to be guides of God for his people. The world around is asking us, how can I understand what the Scripture says about God? Except you and I function as a guide how can they  understand?

Just as the guides at the Taj Mahal functioned to make the experience of those who hired them personal and testified on the extent of a man’s monumental love for his bride, we must function as guides of a God who so greatly loved His bride (the world that believes in Him) that His monumental Love stands today in the symbol of the Cross on which the very personification of God’s great Love, His Only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, willingly demonstrated His love for us by being judged by God, in our stead.

Acts 8:26-35 (KJV)
26 And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert.
And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship,
Was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet.
Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot.
And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest?
And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him.
The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth:
In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth.
And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man?
Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.