Recently, in addition to by daily Bible reading, I have been reading through Dr. Scott Duvall’s book, “The Heart of Revelation.” Dr. Duvall is a long time, faithful professor at Ouachita. He is also a student favorite.
Toward the end of the book, I found myself thinking of Arkansas Baptist pastors and churches when his illustration about perseverance caught my eye. Duvall wrote about his favorite hobby of cycling. He tells (I would brag!) of riding many “centuries” which are one-hundred-mile races. He states that the first 10 to 15 miles are effortless. This cyclist writes of getting tired after about 30 miles and hurting at about 60.
Dr. Duvall thinks that the rest of the ride, 40 miles, is a struggle with two strong emotions: desire to do his best and at the same time he wants to quit. He would tell himself over and over to keep pedaling. He forced himself to eat and drink.
Duvall finished many races.
Pastors recognize they are in a race. They want to finish well. They try to do their best. Yet, because of disappointments, sometimes lack of help, too many conflicts and expectations that are unmet, there is the temptation—even a desire—to quit.
How do we keep going? We remember Who saved us, Who called us, Who indwells us and the One we serve.
Duvall mentions two parallels the cyclist and the Christian share. One is that the race is hard. Cycling is rigorous. The Christian life is as well. Life is hard. Circumstances, challenges, difficult people and disappointment in oneself at times make this race hard.
The second thing Duvall mentions is that we are not alone. Praise the Lord! He who said He will never leave or forsake us has taken up residence within every believer.
Arkansas Baptists, there is something else we have – each other. We are joined together by our Lord, our faith, our mission. We are a part of the family. As a state convention, my prayer is that all of realize we can be an encouragement to one another.
Thank you, Dr. Duvall, for the illustration. Thank you, Arkansas Baptists, for staying faithful and striving for the finish line. Keep pedaling!