Last Sunday my husband and I were running late for church. Okay…I was running late, he was uncharacteristically patiently waiting for me to get out to the car. I’m not even sure how I managed to get so behind in my getting out the door routine. It’s not like I had little ones to get ready or anything. Nope, just me, myself and I, yet one of those three must have been lollygagging because I knew by the time we got to the church I would need to do the “high heel hurry up”. The “high heel hurry up” is that walk where you try to look like you’re not hurrying, but actually you’re attempting to set a land speed record for walking in high heels, up a slanted church sidewalk.
My husband and I are fans of the T.V. show The Amazing Race. For those of you not familiar with it let me explain: several “teams” of two (sometimes married couples, relatives, best friends or just dating couples) race against each other throughout several days and countries. They follow clues and guidelines trying to be the first to arrive at each day’s “pit stop”. Players arriving last each day get eliminated and sent home. Eventually there will be only two teams left to race toward the final day’s “pit stop” and win the race. Along the way they must carry out different tasks and overcome challenges.
On our way to church that day I imagined what it would be like if our Sunday mornings had a similar format:
I can almost hear the announcer/host he narrates the morning and gives instructions: “Prepare yourselves for Sunday school & worship. To do this you must collect all your clothing and be sure it is presentable before putting it on. Personal hygiene may not be neglected in this leg of the race so be careful to include them in your schedule. You may run into a roadblock along the way. The last person to arrive at the final pit stop WILL be eliminated. ”
The race starts with great team work. Scott takes out the dog while I fix our coffee. We settle into our morning preparations for Sunday school class and come to our first road block: we need to print out fliers for the class. We chose Scott to complete this task. Fliers in hand and lesson prepared we head upstairs for the next leg of the race. Once again working in tandem to conquer our hygiene objectives…sinks are shared for teeth brushing and hair fixing. Again the Voiceover/announcer begins to narrate… “Each team member must then find acceptable attire and don it before returning downstairs. Scott gets dressed in record time but Teri has faltered a bit. Her indecision has cost her team valuable seconds.” I rush downstairs to Scott, who is patiently waiting at his computer with his second cup of coffee. The stress of the race is starting to prick my nerve endings. I am surprised at my own tone as I squeal out, “Get the Bibles! Get the Sunday school bag, don’t just sit there, you could have had the car loaded up by now!” (good for television, bad for marriage). Finally we’re in the car….wait did we get the phones? Did you get the gift we’re supposed to bring? What time is it? Do you have lotion in the car?….tension builds as the car clock moves close to the start of Sunday school. Again the announcer/voiceover can be heard: “team Miller has is currently in danger of elimination, will they be able to pull it together and arrive in time?” dramatic pause ….
When we pull into the church parking lot, I can envision us flinging open our car doors, just as the contestants do in the show, and running to the finish. I am slower in my heels and I motion Scott to move ahead… “Don’t wait for me, keep going I’ll catch up!”…of course he waits, the good teammates always do. Running hand in hand we would rush to the finish mat, only in my head instead of the show’s host there to greet us, our Pastor will stand with his Bible in his hand and announce, “Teri and Scott, you’re the last team to arrive…I’m sorry to say, you have been eliminated.”
How wonderful it is to remember that THIS is not the race of life. The race we are called to run is one that is a marathon. Keeping moving forward is more important than when you finish and finishing is the final prize.
I like knowing that God is not standing on a big mat waiting for me to get to Him so he can tell me I’m too late….instead God waits for me to come to Him and rejoices with me when I arrive at His feet.