by Bruce “Coach” Hanson

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Romans 12:12-13

Despite appearances, I am not giggling (casual) about memories of my departed mother, though she inspired much giggling. Fifty-eight years ago as a young youth group leader, I took our youth group to a school for evangelism, and there I heard some words that stuck forever. Christianity is the “Miracle Of a Moment, but the Labor Of a Lifetime”.

Fast forward five years, and this slightly pudgy youth leader became a runner. I remember tracing my running path in my car after my first run. It had to be miles! It wasn’t. One quarter of a mile. Yikes! But I was persistent. On good days and bad days I ran. Eventually, that quarter mile became 7.4 miles every day, until I had actually run 32,000 miles.

In the passage above, Paul ends the section by telling us to practice hospitality. PRACTICE implies repetition. I can tell you that I have all these things: joy in hope, patience in affliction, and faith in prayer; but too many times, I have not. They are not easily attainable aspirations. I started with a quarter mile run that led me to running eight 26.2 mile marathons. Spiritually, I am challenging myself in the same manner. Before those marathons, they often had a “carbo-loading” pancake supper the night before. As I cross the finish line, I am reminded of something my friend Carolyn always reminds me of: I can do none of this on my own. The power to do so is provided by starting my day with a big bowl of Holy Spirit Flakes. Practice makes Perfect. Emulate Jesus!! Heaps of Hope. Pounds of Patience. Plentiful Prayer.

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