The Marathon was so named after the name of the Greek victory over the Persians in 400 BC, at a place twenty-two miles from Athens. Apparently a runner was sent to tell of the victory, and it so exhausted him that he collapsed and died when he reached Athens. It is now a gruelling race of twenty-six miles, which takes years of preparation, dedication and the application of strength and skill by the competitors. They each have a focused goal. Every fibre in the body is stretched; every beat of the heart is demanding, and the whole body driven to gain a laurel and to receive the plaudits of men. There is only one who wins the prize, and that one obviously expends the greatest endeavour and endurance.
This, no doubt, is what Paul had in mind when writing to the Hebrews (ch.12:1). The prize is Christ, for we are to be looking unto Jesus. He tells the Philippians, Oh, that I might win Him. The believer must run with patience or endurance, overcoming the pain, the suffering, the sweat and the toil with as much resolve and dedication as the athletes of Athens. They do it for the praise of man and self-glory, although it is a great accomplishment to win. But we are to do it for the praise of God, and He will, at the finishing line, give us a crown of golden glory, and say, Well run, thou good and faithful servant.
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