I am not a 'runner' ... BUT...
I ran track in middle school. It might be hard to believe, but I was a sprinter. Unfortunately, I had a very short stint as a competitive runner, not because of my lack of speed, but my inability to pass the baton in the relay! It made little difference how fast I could run, because I would inevitablydrop the baton in the exchange to another sprinter. While others were racing down the track, our team was disqualified because I could not find a way hand off what was given to me.
Faith functions much the same way. The goal of following Christ is not simply to receive faith in Jesus but to hand it off. We can exert all kinds of energy running the race of faith: worshipping with passion, praying with intensity, studying God's Word daily; but unless we find a way to hand off that faith through the simple acts of invitation and generosity, we are in danger of becoming like my track team. Going through the motions, exerting effort, but not able to extend our faith to include others.
This week you have already had multiple opportunities to hand off your faith. God places people in front of us for a reason each day, and that reason is for you to show and share the love of Jesus. Something as simple as inviting someone to worship this week could reroute the course of their life, their family, and their eternity. It's pretty easy to say, "I think you'd really like my church; it's really made a difference for me. Would you like to come with me Sunday?" So why wait?
This Sunday we kickoff a new series on suffering we are calling, "Very Bad Things." Over the next month we will squarely confront the issue of suffering, evil, and where we find God in the midst of pain. Do you have any friends who have kept faith at arms length because of the suffering of their lives or someone they love? I know I have. Why not pass along an invitation to worship this weekend? You may never know the difference it will make in their life!