April 26

Written by Bill Grandi on April 26th, 2021

In a devotion I wrote last week. I mentioned the idea of finishing well. Hezekiah did not. I want to.  Over the weekend I read the following story:

You may have heard of John Steven Akhwari, a runner from Tanzania who finished last in the marathon at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City. No last-place finisher in a marathon ever finished quite so last.

Injured along the way, he hobbled into the stadium over an hour after the last runner had crossed the finish line. All the spectators were gone, the stadium was closed, and crews were preparing for the closing ceremony when Akhwari gathered himself for a final effort and sprinted across the line.  It is said that one of the workers picked up a torn finishing tape and held it across the track so Akhwari could break it.

When Bud Greenspan, the official timekeeper of the games, asked the weary athlete why he put himself through such pain, he replied, “Mr. Greenspan, my country did not send me 5000 miles to start the race. They sent me to finish it.”

To be honest, we can’t just kick back, marking time: we are either growing toward God, or we’re going in the other direction.  An interesting quote: “Give your fruit before it rots.” (Richard Rolle)

Long story short: Finish well! Never give up. God did not ask us to just start; He wants us to finish.

“Father, may my life be one of perseverance and never quitting. Help me to finish well.”


10 Comments so far ↓

  1. Oh, yes, me too, LORD.

  2. Glynn says:

    A good example of measuring God’s definition of success versus man’s. One I needed this morning, Bill.

    • Bill Grandi says:

      Thanks Glynn. I know I have struggled with that definition in the past and want to avoid it in the present and future.

  3. Ryan S says:

    The story resonates with me Bill.
    The weekend, I had the opportunity to experience a gathering of men that put some of our physical stamina to the test. I won’t go into all the details as you have to know the secret handshake 🙂

    One challenge was a mile run, at your best place, but there was a caveat.

    You had to be in at least a group of two no further than two arm lengths apart…

    What this meant… You were never running alone, you were always running with someone… your pace needed to adjust some would need to pick up the pace a bit, some had to slow down a bit.

    We started with a group of 5 men, 1 of the men walks with a significant limp and running is quite difficult. So we broke into two groups… 1 of the men stayed back and jogged at a much reduced pace, while 3 of us moved ahead. The pace was adjusted throughout the jog and at one point on a hill, our group slowed as well almost to a walk, but we continued..

    We finished our mile and jogged back to meet our two companions to finish the run as a team.

    The point… The race, the marathon, was never meant to be ran alone. It was never meant to be a solo run. Men – Women, it is imperative to latch arms with your brothers and sisters and run this race together. That is what God intended… That is what will help us finish strong.

  4. What an inspirational story, Bill! Yes, God doesn’t simply want us to start, but to finish in a way that honors Him.
    Blessings, and great message on Sunday!

  5. Ed says:

    I sure hope ‘m growing!