The book of Hebrews states, "Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching" [Hebrews 10:24-25]. The writer must have understood the lonely difficulty of running the spiritual race with no one on the sidelines urging him on. Without the encouraging support of community, most Christians are destined to fall out of the race.
This "spurring one another" comes in different forms. Sometimes, it's just personal presence. On race day, the kids and I were joined by our friends, the Lynches, the Carsons and the Porters. Just seeing these supporters lifted Tiffany's heart and urged her to go one mile further. Similarly, there is a value in community--not only in what we do together, but just the warmth and encouragement that we bring by just sharing life together.
Second, we may spur one another through our words. Proverbs 18:21 reminds me that words have the power of life and death. What we say may hurt or heal. Dozens of people called, texted and tweeted me and Tiffany before and after her run. Each connection strengthened her with courage and support. In the same way, my comments, brief note or loving email to a friend can give them a little push today.
Finally, we spur one another by running with them. From the beginning, Tiffany has trained with her friend Kelly and their partnership brought them to and through their marathon. Then, as Tiffany began to feel the burn just before mile 12, our friend, sweet Laurel Lynch, jumped into street and began to run alongside Tiffany as well. It was an incredible picture of love. This was Tiffany's race. But, Laurel wasn't going to let her fail. I wonder who needs me to come alongside them today. To look them in the eye and tell them, "I know your legs are weak...Life's been tough. But you can count on me. I might have enough strength for both of us for a while."