by Donna Berger

Last weekend, I was in Gainesville (FL) at the Senior Games. Adults 50 years and older can compete in athletic events such as archery, bowling, golf, pickle ball, swimming and more. At the track and field events, I was inspired by the dedication of these athletes. It was a blistering hot day without a whiff of a breeze or a scintilla of shade anywhere. And yet, these men and women were filled with enthusiasm. One 70-year-old woman participated in five running events. I overheard a couple of people commenting on what a wonderful person and great competitor she was. I watched as she came in second in the 200-meter dash and then circled back to watch the men’s 200-meter dash event in which her husband, 75 years young, was competing. She stood on the sideline clapping, cheering and encouraging each competitor and I could see why people liked her so much.

But, what she did next, took my breath away. When the group of runners had passed her, she started jogging back across the track. I hadn’t even seen the 90+ year old gentleman a full quarter lap behind all the other runners. But this grace-filled lady had, and she ran up to him, then alongside of him, and finished the race with him, cheering him on the entire way. This selfless act brought tears to my eyes.

The song says, “…they will know we are Christians by our love…” We are not redeemed by our good deeds. Christ alone redeemed us by His death and resurrection. When we choose to accept Him as our Lord and Savior, the love and care we share with one another is the reflection of God’s love and grace in us.

My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. John 15:12

 Opportunities are present each day for us to love one another. Love doesn’t have to be a grand gesture or an organized effort. A kind word, a helping hand, a loving embrace and yes, helping someone to finish whatever race they may be running all qualify as ways in which we can spread the good news of the Gospel, and give glory to God.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. Hebrews 12:1

 We are called to love, serve and live in the light of God’s grace. Praying that the eyes of our heart are open to the opportunities to love and serve one another each and every day.

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