Running to Win (Cont’d.)

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The starter's shot split the air! Jon and the other runners charged off at a steady pace, but by the second lap, some had dropped far behind. Marty Jones, a runner from Hillsdale, had the lead. Logan Parker from Lakeview was in second place, and Jon, representing Freemont, was in third place.

Soon Jon edged ahead of Logan and pulled into second place. With an added spurt of power, he surged ahead of Marty and took first place. One more lap to go, thought Jon. I can do this. But now Logan was moving with new speed. As Logan pulled alongside, Jon gave it all he had. Sweat poured down his face! Pain stabbed his muscles! He gasped for air! With just inches to go, Jon pushed ahead again, but Logan kept coming!

"He's done it!" the announcer shouted as the tape at the finish line broke. "Our new junior state champion for this event is Logan Parker from Lakeview Middle School!" The crowd cheered.

A disappointed Jon joined his parents after the closing ceremonies. "Good race," his dad greeted him.

"Are you kidding?" burst out Jon. "I lost." He was almost in tears.

"You did your best, Jon. I call that winning even if you didn't get the championship," said Dad. "And you came in second! We're proud of you."

"I let everyone down! I'm a failure," moaned Jon. "I'm never going to run again."

"Not winning first place doesn't make you a failure," said Dad, giving Jon's shoulder a squeeze, "but giving up and quitting might. That would really be letting everyone down--including the Lord. Quitting because you lost would be a poor testimony. On the other hand, learning from your experience, being thankful for doing as well as you did, and continuing with God's help to do your best would be a fine Christian example to your friends."

Jon still dreaded facing all the kids. But when he got to his school, he was surprised to see a large banner on the front of the building. "Welcome home, Jon! We're proud of you!" he read. Jon was relieved. He wasn't the state champion, but his friends knew he had done his best. He thanked the Lord that they understood.

How About You?
Are you doing your best in your Christian race? Perhaps you think you've failed in witnessing. Maybe you know you should try harder for good grades, but you don't feel like it. Or maybe you'd like to break the commitment you've made to a team. With your parents' help, decide what God wants you to do regarding each situation. With His help, do the very best you can. That's all He asks of you.

Today's Key Verse:
Forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal.
(Philippians 3:13-14)

Today's Key Thought:
Do your best