When Bill Broadhurst entered the 1981 Pepsi 10K in Omaha, he stood no chance of winning. Ten years earlier he had a brain aneurysm that left him partially paralyzed, which made every step of those 6.2 miles feel like a marathon. But Bill still signed up because his hero was racing that day. Bill Rodgers, the world-class athlete who had just won his third straight Boston Marathon, made the trip over to Omaha, a race he would easily win. But “easily” would be the last word to describe Bill Broadhurst’s run. After 2 hours and 29 minutes, a 24-minute mile average, he crawled across the finish line, dragging his exhausted body, finishing dead last.
But guess who appeared? Bill Rodgers strode toward Broadhurst, gold medal around his neck, and smiled. “Here,” Rodgers said, taking the medal off and placing it over the heart of the man who had finished last.
Isn’t that just like our story? We spiritually stumble through our lives, falling short and falling down. We struggle to do the right thing, to say the right thing, to think the right thing. We sometimes feel dead last in the race for the perfect Christian life. But then Jesus appears, the Jesus who ran the perfect race, the Jesus who endured every step of the way. And he takes his prize—his constant connection to God—and he says, “Here.” It’s his gift. And it is ours through faith.
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). What a gift! What a Savior!