McMinnville Seventh-day Adventist Church


Pastor's Corner - September 2012


I have been watching the London Olympic track and field events. These take me back a few years to when I ran and jumped looking for prizes. It took training, effort and commitment. How well I remember one time, running the 100 yard dash against two bigger boys, and to everyone’s' surprise I beat them to the finish line and won first prize!

Since those days I have come to appreciate the race I am now involved in, and the significance of the encouragement we are given in Scripture. The Apostle Paul speaks plainly of this, in these words from 1 Corinthians 9:24-25 (NIV)

“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.”

Paul reminds us that all who enter this race, at Christ's invitation, can finish the race as winners! In our personal life and in our church life, we should remember that when we get to the end of the road, it is not what we have accumulated in the bank, or the degrees earned, or how many certificates of appreciation hang on the wall, but how faithful we have been in running the race of life. To hear the words “Well Done” from the Savior's lips will be an awesome experience.

In 1968, the country of Tanzania selected John Stephen Akhwari to represent them in the Mexico City Olympics. During the marathon, Akhwari stumbled and fell, severely injuring both his knee and ankle. By 7 p.m., a runner from Ethiopia had won the race, and all the competitors had finished and been cared for. Just a few thousand spectators were left in the huge stadium when a police siren at the gate caught their attention.

Limping through the gate came number 36, Akhwari, leg wrapped in a bloody bandage. Those present began to cheer as the courageous man completed the final lap of the race.

Later, a reporter asked Akhwari the question on everyone's mind; “Why did you continue the race after you were so badly injured?” He replied: “My country did not send me 7,000 miles to begin a race; they sent me to finish the race!”

My prayer is that every member of the McMinnville church family will be able to echo Paul’s words in our Christian walk: “I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day – and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for His appearing.” 2 Timothy 4:7-8 (NIV)

- Pastor V. J. Puccinelli