In his sermon at Whitworth Community Presbyterian Church yesterday, Dr. Keith Tanis expertly communicated the value of healthy routines. At the end of his sermon he foreshadowed that next week he is going to talk about risk. I have already been learning about routine and risk as I gear up to run a half marathon with my daughter Allison.

Last spring Allison began urging me to enter the Leavenworth Oktoberfest Marathon with her. I was reluctant. The cost seemed high to me. Preparing would take a lot of time and I did not want to risk an injury. Nevertheless, she prevailed and I allowed her to register me for the race. I know that the risk will be worth it. I look forward to a wonderful weekend with my daughter immersed in the spectacular beauty of Leavenworth, WA and I enjoy challenging my body to a higher level of fitness.

Now I am preparing. To be a good runner, you must run. To run 13.1 miles in a race, you should prepare for 10 to 12 weeks. The training schedule I am using begins with three mile runs the first week, stretches to four miles the second week, and increases the distance each week until two weeks before the race. This week, four weeks before the race, I will run 4 or 5 miles Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday and 11 miles on Sunday. Yesterday I ran ten miles.

Along with the value and benefits of routine and risk, I have been learning that rest is also significant in preparing for a race. The training schedule includes two days of rest each week. Two days to allow your body to recover from the pounding it endures the other five days. It is particularly important to rest the day after a long run. So, I am taking today off to allow my muscles and joints to recover from yesterday’s ten mile run.

It is not surprising that Paul compared spiritual development to running a race. (1 Cor 9:24, Gal 2:2, Gal 5:7, 1 Tim 4:7) He recognized the parallels between running a race and growing to spiritual maturity. To become mature in Christ we must walk by faith, which appears risky. We must establish routines of Bible study, prayer, and other spiritual disciplines, and we must get sufficient rest to be renewed for the next step of faith.