Persistent - Pastor's Pen for 7th March

On Saturday I returned to gnaw on the bone that is the Coastal Challenge 17km race from Brown's Bay along the beach to Devonport. It is an unusual running race in that one becomes entirely immersed in seawater on several occasions, and the possibility of injury on slippery rocks is relatively high.

My best laugh of the day came early on when I overheard the conversation of a young couple in the registration line at Brown's Bay:

Her: “Do we have to run along the beach? If I’d known I would have worn my other shoes!” Him: <Silence> ....

A young man in a whole lot of trouble on Saturday afternoon I’m guessing….

Over the last five or so years I’ve been chipping away at the 17km race (one of four distance options) , training regularly on the course and I have observed that local knowledge is a significant advantage when deciding which way to jump. My goal all along has been to win my gender/age group, which over the time period has moved from the 40+ to the 50+. Imagine my joy when I did achieve that on Saturday, along with my best ever overall placing in the event (5/153). The tide was really high and seas choppy this year, and I think some of the newbies struggled in the conditions.

I guess it's a small study in persistence, showing the benefits of sticking with something and seeing what you hoped for coming to fruition over time, as you gain something approaching mastery over the situation.

This week I'll be preaching on the persistent widow demanding justice from a dodgy local magistrate, a parable found in Luke 18. However, on some reflection, I think one of the critical skills for personal mental well-being and growth is knowing when to strive for a goal and knowing when to let go. There is balance to everything, as the teacher of Ecclesiastes 3 would have us believe;

a time to seek, and a time to lose;

a time to keep, and a time to throw away;

a time to tear, and a time to sew;

a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

So let us strive long enough to see a result, but have enough wisdom to know when to rest, to take Sabbath, and to loosen our grip for a time. Every mad beach runner knows that after the toe-stubbing, skin grazing, lung busting race, there needs to be a rest day or two and a taking stock. So it is with many things. Oh, and it pays to be wearing the right shoes on the day...

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