A Long-Haul Mentality

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, compared to the glory our trials produce in us, 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.

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 enjoy songwriting, oil painting and coffee, not necessarily in that order.