Thursday, June 12, 2008

Keep Going!

Freddie and I became good friends in high school. Freddie was a special ed student and had been in high school for a long time. He may not have been fully capable of learning educational information, but Freddie was incredibly capable of loving people.

Freddie would do anything you told him to do, as long as it was ethical. If you were a teacher or coach, he would heed your every command.

One day our football coach wanted to see how far each of us could throw a football. He gave Freddie an empty football sack and wanted him to retrieve the balls as we threw them. Freddie didn't understand exactly what we were doing or why he was holding the sack.

But when Coach pointed to the other end of the football field and said, "Freddie, run until I tell you to stop," Freddie took off running. I'll never forget the sight. Freddie was wearing gym shorts, a white t-shirt, and cowboy boots. He was running as fast as he could.

When Freddie was about 35 yards away, Coach yelled, "Stop right there, Freddie." Freddie kept running. Coach yelled again, "Freddie, stop!" Freddie kept going. Then Coach remembered Freddie's hearing impairment. It was easy to forget because Freddie read lips so well.

Freddie nearly reached the fence 30 yards on the other side of the end zone before he turned around.

I wish I had a little more Freddie in me. I give up too easily. I turn around too quickly. I second-guess the instructions and doubt the Instructor.

Most of us give up too easily. We stop when we need to keep going. We brake when we should accelerate. We "Garfield" when we should "Energizer Bunny."

In Acts 13, Paul and Barnabas were kicked out of Antioch. Threats were made. Violence was only a stone's throw away. And in verse 51, Paul and Barnabas "shook off the dust from their feet..." and kept going.

They went to Iconium. Again, (chapter 14) their sermons were met with threats of stoning. They kept going. They arrived at Lystra and kept preaching and healing in the name of Jesus. A combined posse from Antioch and Iconium rode into Lystra and led a mob to actually stone Paul to the point that they thought he was dead. They drug his body outside of the city and left him.

Paul got up and went back into the city! The next day, Paul went to Derbe. Then turned right back around and revisited Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch!

The message is clear: Keep going. Stand for the truth when others fall for counterfeits. Keep going in the right direction while others stray from the path or get comfortable along the side of the road.

Listen to the words of Paul as his bruises and cuts are still quite visible, "We MUST through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God" (14:22).

Excuse me while I try to catch up to Freddie...
Perry Crisp

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