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August 5, 2021

A Pastoral Word. . .

Pastor Mark Adams

August 5, 2021
This young man is Japanese Marathon Runner Shizo Kanakuri. More than a century ago, he competed in the domestic qualifying trials for the 1912 Stockholm Olympics. In fact, Kanakuri set a marathon world record and was selected as one of the only two athletes that Japan could afford to send to the event that year.

However, Kanakuri disappeared during the 1912 Olympic marathon race.

He had endured a rough 18-day trip to Stockholm, first by ship and then by train all through the Trans-Siberian Railway, and needed five days to recover for the race. In fact, he was so weakened by the long journey from Japan that Kanakuri, lost consciousness midway through the race, and was cared for by a local family. He was so embarrassed about his “failure” that he returned to Japan without notifying race officials.

The Swedish Olympic authorities considered him missing for fifty years until they learned he was alive and well and living in Japan.  So, in 1967, they offered him the opportunity to complete his run. As you can see in this picture, he accepted and finally finished his marathon.
His time:  54 years, 8 months, 6 days, 5 hours, 32 minutes and 20.3 seconds. After he crossed the finish line he said, “It was a long trip. Along the way, I got married, had six children and 10 grandchildren.”

Kanakuri’s marathon is an illustration of our journey toward Christlikeness as Christians, for spiritual growth is life-time “race” that we only finish when we pass through the gates of Heaven. In our life-long pursuit of godliness, we will often fail like Kanakuri. When this happens the Apostle Paul says, “this one thing I do: forgetting what is behind…I press on.” (Philippians 4:13) In other words, we can’t be shackled by the past. We confess our sins, accept Jesus’ forgiveness, and get back on the “track.”

We must remember that God isn’t so much into speed as He is into distance. As Eugene Peterson put it, “Discipleship is a long obedience in the same direction.” The Biblical picture of spiritual growth in this life is one of forward motion: a pilgrimage, a journey—not an arrival.

In Colossians 2:6-7, Paul writes, “As you received Jesus Christ as Lord…so WALK in Him rooted and built up in Him.” We must be determined to move forward, to not let anything slow our forward motion as we strain to be more and more like Jesus day by day.

Keep the SON in your eyes!
Mark
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