“If racing
against mere men makes you tired,

    how will you race against horses?
If you stumble and fall on open ground,
    what will you do in the thickets near the
Jordan? – Jeremiah 12:5 (NLT)
This quote from
Jeremiah, an Old Testament prophet, is a challenge statement. He called out the
people of Judah and forced them to face their circumstances. God was calling
them to be leaders among all the people of the earth. He wanted them to run
races against horses; but they were struggling to run against mere men. God
wanted them to blaze a trail through the bush; but they had stumbled and fallen
in the open fields. The people of Judah wanted the benefits of being the people
of God; but they did not want to face up to the leadership challenges of being
trailblazers, pioneers, and ones who set records for great leadership. God had
spoken to Abraham long before this and had said to him that his descendants
would be a great people. They would be God’s special people and they would be
greatly blessed by the God who created the universe (Genesis 12:1-3). God told
them that they were to be a people after God’s own heart (1Samuel 13:14). Then
as God blessed them, they were to be a blessing to the people of the earth (Genesis
12:3). He told them he would send them a Messiah, a Saviour, a Christ, to
empower God’s people and rescue them from their enemies. He made it clear that just
as God was sending a Messiah to save them, the Messiah would send the people
into the world to continue the mission of God and bless all the people of the
earth and not just Judah (John 20:20-23).
Today we stand at
the nexus point that describes the intersection of these statements. God has
blessed, God has sent and been sent, God has rescued, God has pioneered, and
God has set the course. He now calls on his people everywhere to bless others,
to be sent and to send, to rescue, to pioneer, and to run the course marked out
for horses. We are not to settle for running with men. We are not to wish for
smooth fields and clear paths. Life is hard; it requires some bush-whacking. We
must run the race set out before us and look for new goals to achieve. Eugene
Peterson, a man who was not afraid to set high standards for himself, has this
to say about the people who have inherited the blessing.
“The Puzzle is
why so many people live so badly. Not so wickedly, but so inanely. Not so
cruelly, but so stupidly. There is little to admire and less to imitate in the
people who are prominent in our culture. We have celebrities but not saints.
Famous entertainers amuse a nation of bored insomniacs. Infamous criminals act
out the aggressions of timid conformists. Petulant and spoiled athletes play
games vicariously for lazy and apathetic spectators. People, aimless and bored,
amuse themselves with trivia and trash. Neither the adventure of goodness nor
the pursuit of righteousness gets headlines.”[1]
Yes, granted, it
is easier to go along with the conformists and the lazy. No one will notice if
you stay in the middle of the herd. You can be a spectator all of your life and
still have the blessings of this world. It is easier; but not more significant.
So what do we want? A life of ease or a life of significance? Will we settle
for running in the middle, or even toward the front, of the apathetic crowd;
or, will we run with the horses?

[1] Run
with the Horses: The Quest for Life at Its Best
, By Eugene H.
Peterson, Page 11.

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