I often say that I am not a runner.  I know how to run, have been known to run, and will run if absolutely necessary, but I prefer only to run when chased.

A friend of mine works as a dental hygienist.  She is in close contact with each patient for about 45 minutes while she cleans their teeth.  She had a patient the other day who, when she sat him down in the chair and asked “What’s new?” responded with, “I got baptized this weekend.”

He’s a runner.

I love that, I envy that.  The boldness some new Christians have.  The excitement, without regret or second guessing, about the decision they made for Christ.  They long to run out and share the gift they received with anyone who will listen and even those who won’t…their faith and belief is pure and child-like.

That is what God wants from us!

“Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”  Matthew 18:3-4

“Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”  Luke 18:16-17

I love the story of the woman at the well, although I don’t totally “get” her…

You see, she’s a runner. (John 4)  Jesus was exhausted, sitting down by the well, and like hundreds of times before, this Samaritan woman comes to draw water, but receives so much more this time around…

Isn’t that just how God works?!  Using the routine, ordinary, nothing-special-times to get our attention!!

Jesus called the woman out… He spoke of her sin, her deepest secrets, and because He knew her so personally…she believed and immediately ran to tell the people of the city about Him!

“So the woman left her water jar and went away into town and said to the people, ‘Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did…’ Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony…”   John 4:28-29, 39

One summer several years ago at VBS, I had the privilege of speaking to a young girl about Jesus explaining the sacrifice He made for her.  I used the Bible to show her how sin separates us from God forever … but through the price Christ paid for us, we are able to spend eternity with Him should we choose to follow Him and give Him our heart.  She prayed to accept Christ as her Savior and as soon as she finished, without a word she got up, ran into the church and came right out pulling on the arm of her sister, again…running, straight out to me and telling her, “you gotta’ hear this!”

Did I run to tell others after Jesus called me out??

No.

I didn’t run and tell people.  Don’t get me wrong, I was thrilled and excited about my decision, but I was more in awe of what God did for me, than concerned about the loved ones who didn’t know.

I wasn’t a runner.  I just couldn’t wrap my head around how…

He protected me so many times when I acted foolishly.

He loved me while I was, and still am, such a selfish wretch.

He waited patiently when I walked my own path and followed my own desires.

He gave His life for me while I rolled my eyes and shrugged indifferently.

After Jesus’ crucifixion, Mary Magdalene went to His tomb to anoint His broken body with spices.  When she arrived and saw the stone had been rolled away, His body “taken,” she was beside herself.  She couldn’t think straight…  Jesus stood directly in front of her talking to her and she didn’t even recognize Him.  She was so focused on her problems…on herself.

For so long I lived like that.  God spoke to my heart, but I didn’t listen.  He faced me and I didn’t see.

Like Mary, I was blind and turned my own way…until He opened her eyes…

“Jesus said to her, ‘Mary.’ She turned and said to him in Aramaic, ‘Rabboni!’Jesus said to her, ‘Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’ Mary Magdalene went (and I’ll bet she ran) and announced to the disciples, ‘I have seen the Lord’”  John 20:16-18

Although she’s a runner, I do “get” Mary Magdalene.

… He went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God… and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out,”   Luke 8:1-2

Ok, I can safely say that I’ve never been controlled by demons, although if you ask my parents, my husband, or my children they might say the jury is still out!!

But, how often am I under their control?  How often do I allow fear and doubt to control me and keep me from running to share my faith?!   Sure, I try in my meager, failing way, to live my life for Christ, but is that enough?

One Halloween a couple years after I was saved, one of my dearest friends from high school who had moved out of state called me.  The first words out of her mouth were, “Are you saved?”

She was a runner.

When the opportunity arises, and it always tends to…especially at the most inopportune time to share Him with others… do I?

Although he wasn’t a runner…yet… I totally “get” Peter.

“While Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant girls of the high priest came by. When she saw Peter warming himself, she looked closely at him. ‘You also were with that Nazarene, Jesus,’ she said.

But he denied it. ‘I don’t know or understand what you’re talking about,’ he said, and went out into the entryway.

When the servant girl saw him there, she said again to those standing around, ‘This fellow is one of them.’

Again he denied it.

After a little while, those standing near said to Peter, ‘Surely you are one of them, for you are a Galilean.’

He began to call down curses on himself, and he swore to them, ‘I don’t know this man you’re talking about.’”   Mark 14:66-71

God calls us…

“And Jesus said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.”   Mark 1:17

God commands us…

“Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.”   Mark 16:15

God equips us…

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses… to the end of the earth.”   Acts 1:8

God teaches us…

“…just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”   John 13:34b-35

Are you a runner?

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