Although I’ve run since I was 20, over the past couple of years running has become a passion.
However, even though I run, I feel uneasy calling myself a runner. This is because I know a lot of bona fide runners and, compared to them, I’m no runner.
Don’t get me wrong. I log quite a few miles on foot every week. But I’m more of a plodder.
The way I see it, runners are at the front of the pack speeding to the finish. Plodders lag towards the back of the pack trudging to the finish. Runners run in hopes of qualifying for a spot in the Boston marathon. Plodders run in hopes they can still fit in their pants after the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.
The apostle Paul was probably a runner, or at least he knew a lot about running. He often compared life to running a race. He said in I Corinthians 9:24, “Run in such a way as to get the prize.” At the end of his life, he said, “I have finished the race” (2 Timothy 4:7).
While I’ve finished a few races, I’ve never gotten the prize. I’m not fast. I don’t lead the pack or post fast and impressive finish times. I can’t hang up front with the champions. But I will eventually make it across the finish line.
That’s because I’m not a runner. I’m a plodder. And there’s a lot of us out here running in races who aren’t among the fastest or the strongest, but we plod.
There’s also a lot of us in this race called life who aren’t the smartest, coolest, prettiest, strongest or richest. We’re not in the front of the pack leading everybody else. And we’re not going to win medals or impress a bunch of people with the results we post in the race of life.
But that doesn’t matter. We didn’t quit. We hung in there faithfully trudging along in the middle of the pack. And that’s worth something.
In fact, that’s worth everything. It’s worth everything to hear Jesus say one day, “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:23).
Plodders are just regular people who are faithful to finish. And you can bet that God will recognize and reward all of us regular people who finish, not just those who are first to the finish.
The great Christian missionary, William Carey, was a plodder. He dropped out of school at 12 years old. After hearing him preach his first sermon, his church declined to ordain him.
When he finally arrived on the mission field, it took him seven years to reach his first convert to Christ. When asked how he managed to stay so long in India without seeing any visible results, he answered, “I can plod.”
Before he died, he summed up his life by saying, “If one should think it worth his while to write my life. If he gives me credit for being a plodder, he will describe me justly. Anything beyond this will be too much.”
So, if you’re not a runner, just plod. And if you’re not first, just finish. Be faithful. That’s good enough for God.
(Scripture is quoted from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.)
State Missionary Daniel Wilson is the director of the Evangelism Office. He may be contacted at 1-800-264-1225, ext. 320, or 334-613-2320, firstname.lastname@example.org.