The fastest I ever ran was with two buddies of mine on a church trip to the beach as a teenager. We were staying at the house of friend and he wanted to show us the horse farm next door. So we hopped the fence and walked over to see the horses.

What our friend didn’t tell us was that we weren’t supposed to visit without permission and they had a guard dog, a german shepherd. I was a paper boy and my experience with dogs was not always positive. Many dogs love to chase paper boys. We heard a full deep throated bark as the dog came out of nowhere. I got an adrenaline shot that put me into instant flight mode.

Of the three of us I was usually second in a footrace. Not that day. After we barely escaped over the fence, head first, the other guys remarked with surprise that I had out run Reid. While he was normally the better and faster athlete, I was definitely the more motivated that day.

But that kind of urgency is not a daily occurrence. Life is more often like a distance race. And for those kind of races, I’ve always run faster and better with a friend. I remember in high school how I wanted to get up early before school and run two miles a day. I did ok for awhile, but then started to lose my motivation. Not long after a friend of mine heard me talking about running and offered to join me. I waited on the curb as he faithfully came by every day to run with me. I rarely missed after that. Pretty soon I was in the best shape of my life.

A few years back I felt a real desire to memorize some key scripture verses, but was struggling to stay motivated. I asked Mark Holter and another friend if they would be interested in getting together for awhile and reciting scripture verses to each other. I memorized more scripture that year than any year of my life.

In community, we are more motivated. Jesus knew that and sent his disciples out in pairs. Never alone.

Mark 6:7
Calling the Twelve to him, he sent them out two by two and gave them authority over evil spirits.

Paul later wrote in Romans 1:12,
“that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each others faith.”

and then in Hebrews 10:25 he wrote,
Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

Many people in my life help motivate me to faithfully follow Christ. Because of them I run with endurance.

Run with passion, run with purpose and run with endurance, and know that Jesus will bring people in your life to encourage you and at the same time use your life to help others finish the race.

Your companion and friend,
Joe McKinney