One of the best endings to a movie imho (‘in my humble opinion’ for those who aren’t quite hip enough) is the last scene of the Disney movie “Secretariat” the amazing horse that won the Triple Crown in 1973. This is the ending of the movie, the last race – the Belmont Stakes, watch it with me:
Last scene of Secretariat
Oh man! I can’t watch it without tears and chills. The horse that did the impossible – won the longest race of the Triple Crown by 31 lengths. The excitement builds as his lead builds. People can’t believe it, they are worried he went out too fast and won’t be able to last. As the race comes to the last turn, there is silence – nothing in the frame but the empty track waiting for the horses, scripture is quoted from Job: “He laughs at fear, afraid of nothing, He does not shy away from the sword. The quiver rattles against his side, along with the flashing spear and lance. In frenzied excitement he eats up the ground. He cannot stand still when the trumpet sounds”. As soon as the words “trumpet sounds” are said… you hear his hoofbeats… and as he rounds the corner all you see are his legs eating up the track, dust flying, as “O Happy Day” – a song that doesn’t really fit, but is somehow perfect for the scene – rings out and Secretariat literally runs away with the win. It’s perfect and I love it.
Did you catch what the 3 people closest to Secretariat said? As he’s running down the final stretch his owner Penny yells: “Let him run Ronnie!” as she throws her arms up in glee willing him to go faster. The trainer Lucien jokingly/seriously warns: “Don’t fall off Ronnie!” as he sees the race is already won and just the finish is left. Then there’s my favorite, Secretariat’s groom… his stable guy/caretaker/keeper – the one who sleeps by him, who feeds him, who rubs him down after a tough race. As he watches his horse fly down the track Eddie whispers: “There you go Red” with more affection and emotion then most wedding vows.
There’s a villain in this story, at least in the movie it’s the horse Sham. Obviously not the horse, but the one who controls him. Sham was sent out to destroy Secretariat by pushing him early to a crazy fast pace hoping he would burn out before the end of the race. Here’s a description of Sham’s racing style: His preferred running style was that of a closer, stalking from behind to make a late rally.
Sound familiar? An evil enemy who not only hopes for your defeat but sets out to stalk you, actively pushing you into a style of running/living that is not good for you. Pushing you to indulge in that sin or dance around that temptation, challenging you to go faster and farther than is healthy so that instead of running a strong race of life, you’re a broken mess on the ground.
I Corinthians 15:29 is a somewhat confusing verse about being baptized for someone who has already died, it goes on in the next few verses asking questions about why be persecuted for Christ, and why not just “eat drink and be merry” ‘cuz we’re just going to die to nothing anyway. Paul is pushing us to think about our personal relationship with Jesus – why deal with an enemy who is going to harass you your whole life? Then Paul switches it to scolding — Stop sinning, there are people who don’t even know about Jesus! Life your life as a testimony!
Put yourself in Secretariats race thinking of your life as a Believer. Jesus as your champion – cheering you on: “Run ____ run your race!” The Father as your guide your protector: “Don’t fall off, don’t let go of the truth!” The Holy Spirit who lives with you — who knows you intimately: “There you go ___ you’re living how you were made to live now”.
Make your decision
Run your race as a testimony so that others may see and know the One that created them, that loves them, that died for them.
This is so true. I’ve found myself in many a situation where I’ve felt compelled to do more, more, more, and go, go, go that sometimes I give up before I even leave the gate because just thinking about all the work burns me out. It’s so easy to forget that it’s not about getting to the destination as quickly as possible—nor about using our own horsepower to get there—but instead, it’s a steady marathon in which we rely upon God to set the pace and trust in Him when He calls us to slow down and focus on what’s really important. We frequently buy into the lie that we should be further along than we are, that if only we could just reach that carrot dangling before us, then everything would be so much better. The real joy is not in merely reaching the goal, but acting in accordance with the knowledge of who we are in Christ and the desires that God has instilled within us through our simple, everyday obedience. And I do think that when we take the time to slow down and rest in each moment that God gives us, it makes a world of difference in how we approach others; instead of feeling drained all the time because we’ve put too much stock in our own limited strength, He continuously equips us with the capacity to live our lives as a beacon to others every step of the way. It’s something I still struggle with sometimes, particularly when I get caught up in my own expectations, but it’s amazing how consciously drawing from His endless reservoir instead of my own energy turns a once demanding burden into a sustaining passion. Thank you for sharing such an incredibly relevant post!