Has your “Gagi” seemed a little bleary-eyed and distracted? That was from staying up late watching the Olympics! But now I am watching you as this work- and school-year begins.
Not all the Olympic athletes won medals. But all of them were there for the joy of competing. And this year each of you has your own race to run.
Did you know that the Bible compares life to running a race? Paul wrote. “We’ve all been to the stadium and seen the athletes race. Everyone runs, one wins … they do it for a gold medal … you’re after one that’s gold eternally.” (Perhaps Paul covered the ancient Olympics!)
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What’s your race this year? And how are you going to run it? Here’s my grandfatherly advice. Stop. Look. Listen.
Stop. That’s not easy! Turn off your devices. Take time to be alone by yourself. And think about your goals for this year.
Look. Look ahead. What do you need to focus on? And look inside. What gifts and opportunities has God given you?
Listen. Listen to your inner voice. What do you most want? And most of all listen to that still, small voice of God. What does God most want you to be and do this year?
Graham. You, dear and oldest grandchild, are in the school of life. Your work with determination. May you father with patience those two great-grand children of ours, Conner the sunny one, and Kaylyn the feisty one!
Christine. I see in you high standards and determination. You can be counted on to do things well. As you do your job and consider grad school, open up your heart wide to love, and be loved.
Ben. I see in you courage. You have recovered from that bad motorcycle accident when you were sideswiped in a hit and run. I see in you compassion and caring. As you finish college this year may you discover what comes next … especially in your desire to help and serve others.
Anabel. Starting high school! Friends are important to you. I see your multi-talents, and a joy that draws others. You may be drawn in many directions. Let the love of Jesus continue to shine through you.
Leighton. What a gift you have to sing, to act, and what a natural golf swing, and love for God’s small creatures. I pray your year at middle school may be filled with wonder at the great, wide world around.
Mimi and I will be watching you all with love, and prayer, and sometimes a little trepidation. Know that we are always here when you need us. And we know that you are in God’s hands.
Here’s another great thought from God’s Word to take with you.
“Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it, because he never lost sight of where he was headed – that exhilarating finish in and with God … When you find yourself flagging in your faith, go over that race again .. That will shoot adrenalin into your souls.” (The Message)
Please don’t just follow the crowd. Follow the course Jesus has set for you and reach out and take others along. Be trailblazers.
So, run now. We’re cheering for you!
Your loving Gagi.
PS We’re still running our race, a bit more slowly. The older we get the more we need you. So come often! When you need an arm around the shoulder. A listening ear. A word of encouragement. We may need that too. (And a gift may be slipped into your pocket from Mimi!)
Leighton Ford of Charlotte is a Presbyterian minister known internationally as preacher, writer and mentor.