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Finish the race

The year was 1968, the event was the Olympics, the place was Mexico City.  The particular event was the marathon, all the runners — almost all of them had crossed the finish line.  A few strugglers were coming in to the great stadium in Mexico City.  As the last few were dragging their way through finishing the race, suddenly all of the spectators in the stand heard a siren toward the opening gate of the stadium and they all looked, and they saw one man barely making it through.  He had fallen.  His knee was blooded and bandaged.  His name was John Philip Akhwari.  He wore the colors of Tanzania and as he hobbled toward the finish line, the whole group of people in the stand sit up, and gave him applause, as if he had won the raise, and he was the last place.

When he finished the race, somebody asked him, “Why did you keep going?  You fell, you were injured.  You were disqualified.  There’s no way you were going to win.  Why didn’t you just quit?”  He said, “My country didn’t send me 7000 miles to begin a race, but to end it, to finish it, and I finished it.”  God put you on this earth not just to start a Christian journey, but to finish your race with joy.

Skip Heitzig

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