A Long-Haul Mentality

race horses

In the book ?Seabiscuit”, about the famous Depression racehorse, his trainer had to teach the horse to pace himself. Initially, Seabiscuit would streak out front, then run out of gas and lose the race. But eventually he learned pace himself, then put on a final burst to win.

As believers, it doesn?t really matter if we explode out of the starting gate. What really matters is how we finish. Paul had a long-haul mentality:

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness…(2 Timothy 4:7-8).

Paul went the distance and made it to the final bell of the good fight. We need his long-range mindset.

We need this mindset with our children. On a day-to-day basis, it’s easy to get discouraged when we see little or no fruit. Usually we expect fruit in our kids too soon. Though God saves some at a young age, often he opens their eyes after years of parents sowing in faith.

We need a long-haul mentality when it feels like our church is in an eternal day of small beginnings. We need to think long-term about that new believer who’s victorious one day and in the “Slough of Despond” the next.

We need to think long-haul about ourselves. It’s easy to become discouraged with our spiritual growth when we analyze ourselves short-term. But look back 6 months or 6 years and you’ll see that Jesus has changed you.

We especially need to think long-term when we’re suffering. Scripture tells us to look ahead to eternity to the weight of glory our afflictions are producing (2 CO 4.17-18). Looking at them short-term, they seem heavy and endless. But in heaven we’ll see how light and momentary they actually are.

William Wilberforce began his battle to abolish slavery in England in 1787. Finally, after battling for 46 years, in 1833, Parliament passed the Slavery Abolition Act which abolished slavery in most of the British Empire. He died 3 days after the Act was passed. What if he had not had a long-haul mentality and quit after 5 years or 20 years?

Let’s think long-haul. Let’s fight the good fight today and keep running the race, for the glory of Christ.

Photo by SaraScho

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I’m a pastor at Saving Grace Church in Indiana, PA. I’m married to Kristi, have 5 kids, and a growing number of grandkids. I’ve written a lot of worship songs. I also like to paint.

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  1. Marshall says

    I’ve heard this comparison being made between Saul of Tarsus and Saul, the first king of Israel. Saul of Tarsus started badly, but ended well, but King Saul did the opposite. It’s an interesting way of looking at it.

    I think most of us would agree we need to focus on the long haul. The problem is actually doing it.

  2. says

    Hey Marshall, thanks for your comment. Great comparison – Saul to Saul – the only way we can do it is by God’s grace. I’m so glad he’s promised that he will complete the work he began in us.

  3. says

    Wow, you guys just keep hitting every nail on the head. I just posted a blog about how crazy my day was yesterday and how I wrote a song to sum up my feelings. the things you wrote in this post are exactly what I needed to hear and I thank you for that. I really do hope that I can gain a long-haul mentality.


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