I was scanning the main page of face book the other day looking for something to keep busy with. I came across a picture of some runners and a story attatched to it and began to read. The story below is the story I read and really enjoyed it. All credit of this story goes to Keith Brown. Thanks for sharing.
The Parable of the Two Runners
By Keith Lionel Brown
There were two men running in a race. The one runner had no other goal in mind then to be the first to cross the finish line and to be declared the winner. Winning meant everything to him. As far as he was concerned, if he could not win the race, there was no real reason to run the race. The other runner had a completely different attitude. He was definitely in the race to do his best, but to him, crossing the finish line first was not necessarily his main objective for running this race. This runner was more concerned with running the race well.
And so there they both were at the starting line anticipating the start of the big race. Soon the pistol was fired and the runners were off.
The one runner's main objective was to win this race at any cost, and soon he began cutting other runners off and even caused a few of them to trip and fall. Some of the fallen runners were injured to the point where they could not finish the race. However, this did not stop this runner. He had a race to win and so he continued on his way. The other runner; however, stopped and helped those who had fallen, and ensured that they were off of the track out of harms way. After seeing to the well-being of his fellow runners he got back into the race and continued running at a steady pace.
During the course of the race there were some runners who soon began to run out of energy and instead of running, resorted to walking at a fast pace. There were others who wanted to quit believing that there was no way possible for them to finish the race, let alone win the race.
This, of course, made the one runner extremely happy, for this meant that there would be fewer people competing for the prize. The possibility of winning this race began to look even more promising to him. The other runner, noticing that some of his fellow runners were growing weary and discouraged, began to run along side of them and spoke to them and did his best to encourage them to not give up and quit, but to stay in the race. He told them that the real prize was not necessarily in winning the race, but in enduring and finishing the race that they had started. Amazingly they soon regained their strength and became more determined than ever to give it their all to finish the race.
The finishing line was soon in sight but still some distance away. The runner whose goal it was to be declared the winner was now exhausted, but with the finish line just ahead, he was determined to be the first to cross it. He was well in the lead, but there were some runners that were rapidly gaining on him. With all of the energy and strength that he could muster he ran as hard and as fast as he could hoping that no other runner would catch him and pass him and cross the finish line before him. The other runner was a little distance behind, but he too now had sight of the finish line and continued to run the race at a steady pace. A short time later the one runner had achieved his goal. He had crossed the finish line first and was thus declared the winner of the race. The crowd applauded with excitement.
Shortly thereafter, the other runner also reached the finish line. As he was about to cross the line he stopped. There was a hush over the audience as they were amazed that a runner would stop just short of crossing the finish line. The runner turned and looked behind him. He saw that some of his fellow runners were struggling to finish the race. Without hesitation he ran back to encourage the runners once again not to quit but to push forward and endure to the end.
All of the runners finally crossed the finish line with this runner being the last one to cross. For a moment there was a deep silence from the crowd. And then it happened. One by one people slowly began to stand to their feet and applaud this runner. The applause was longer and louder than it had been for the runner who won the race. This left the winner both amazed and confused. He did not understand why this runner who had crossed the finish line last was receiving so much recognition especially since he had clearly lost the race.
When all was said and done, which of these two runners was the real winner of the race?
Every time I hear a lesson in church I ask my self a few questions. What did I personally get out of this story? And How can I apply it into my life to make me a better person?
I learned ( the hard way ) In my own running career that its not all about winning the race, or being the fastest in the school, but rather its enjoying the wonderful blessing that our Father in Heaven has given us. The ability to RUN. I'm going to take a better look on the many blessings and gifts that HE has given me and be more thankful for them.