I really do admire people with enough discipline to compete in the triathlon.
I need to make that clear up front.
Because from here on, I’ll be making an analogy about them, just to make a point, and, if they picked up this article midstream, it could make them mad.
This is pure analogy, nothing more.
As my wife and I checked into the Sheraton in Burlington, VT, over the weekend, to finish delivering son number two back to College, we noticed a giant triathlon sign in the lobby and amazingly fit people walking high-tech bicycles around.
Each one, in addition to physiques like Michael Phelps, also wore giant painted numbers on their arms and legs.
I have no idea what kind of paint they use, but it must be good, as we still saw it on arms at breakfast the next day.
I mentioned to my wife, there’s a unique trait all these great athletes inherit.
When one gets close enough to them, it jumps out at you.
From a distance, their bodies are void of excess calories, unlike mine.
They really do resemble 17-year-old cross-country runners.
But, up close, while waiting for a table for breakfast, one can clearly see the effects of weather and wind on their faces.
From the neck up, they seem to age fast and their lines are deep and leathery.
Surely the incredible time spent battling wind and sun take their toll.
They don’t seem bothered by it though.
In the long run, they’ll win the battle of health over Lazy-Boy spuds like me.
It truly is a culture of dedication and extreme discipline.
Anytime I see a number mark on someone’s arm, I can’t help but think about the Book of Revelation and the coming mark of the Beast.
I’m not an eschatology professor, so don’t expect an explanation on when and how, etc…
But, I have to think, in some way, when he does come, those who follow him will look great from a distance.
It’s prophesied that he will promise them safety and security from a God he claims has failed them.
We believers know that’s a lie.
And, when one turns their face toward darkness and sin, the effects are impossible to stop.
Their will be a terrible cost to those who believe in him as their savior.
The mark will never wash off and the pain of separation from God will be eternal.
Lord, help us be your Light to the world, speaking Truth, to those who turn to the wrong one.
We must not be silent, nor act in ways that neutralize our testimony.
We too must have the discipline to run the good race, pointing to a far greater finish line where eternal life is the prize any pilgrim can win.