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Running the Race to the Finish - Together

Fact or Fiction? Encouragement Compassion

Source: “Human(e) Race,” as published on Snopes.com, retrieved 2/8/16

Link to Source: Click here to view source

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2016-02-19

Scripture: Galatians 6:2 ; Philippians 2:3

Author: Illustration Exchange
10

ILLUSTRATION

A story is widely circulated on the internet about a memorable track event at the Seattle, WA, Special Olympics some years ago.

As the story is told, nine special needs youth all gathered at the starting line, anxiously awaiting the flag to begin their 100 yard dash. A few yards in, one young man stumbled to the ground. Face down and defeated, he lay on the track sobbing. It is reported that the other eight, hearing his sobs, all stopped in their tracks (pun intended!) and returned to help him up. Upon raising him from the ground and wiping his tears, it’s further reported that all nine then linked arms and jogged to the finish line together.

It’s a beautiful story, isn’t it? Only thing is, it’s not true. At least not “all together” true.

Spectators at the 1976 Seattle Special Olympics recall that the race started as described, and one young man did indeed fall to the ground. At that point though, they recall, a “couple” of the other kids stopped, helped him to his feet, and joined him, crossing the finish line together.

It’s a subtle difference, but a significant one. We like to liken our experience in the Christian life to events such as these. But the similarities are true only to a point. Many Christian authors, bloggers, and commentators have referenced this event, likening it to the responsibility of the fellowship of believers to “be there” for each other, to see the hardships each one of us faces, and to help each other to finish line, in tact and mutually victorious. 

APPLICATION

Just as it is unrealistic to believe that every one of those special needs athletes were utterly selfless— much less even aware that the young man behind them had fallen— it is likewise unrealistic to expect that everyone in our church is ready to be utterly selfless, putting the needs and encouragement of others above their own. Neither is it realistic to think that everyone in our church is even aware of our downfall or need).

When we stumble and fall, the entire church may not see our dilemma or hear our cries for help. But if we’ve been faithful in fellowship, transparent in our relationships, and accountable in our actions, there will be those to whom we’ve drawn close who will see our trouble or hear our cries for help. 

We are indeed called to bear one another’s burdens. At the very least, as a church, we should function as this race really played out—with those of us who see or hear of another’s struggles stopping to lift our brother or sister up and help carry them over the finish line. In this way, we share in each other’s victorious, and indeed more fully share in the victory of Christ Himself.

“Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2).

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others” (Philippians 2:3-4).

No Left Turns

Fact or Fiction? Obedience God's Provision

Source: "When in doubt: UPS avoids left turns. How a simple rule increased our drivers' efficiency," posted UPS COMPASS, July 2012

Link to Source: Click here to view source

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2014-10-08

Scripture: Isaiah 26:7

Author: Illustration Exchange
9

ILLUSTRATION

UPS drivers only make right turns--fact of fiction?

Fact…mostly.

The truth is, in 2004 UPS enacted a policy for their drivers to avoid ALL left hand turns whenever possible and practicable. The result is that UPS drivers make right hand turns more than 90% of the time, turning left only in sparsely populated residential neighborhoods or when right turns are otherwise unavailable or impractical. UPS explains the strategy:

Years ago ... UPS engineers began to devise route-optimization plans to increase efficiency, reduce fuel consumption and get drivers back to their centers earlier. They came up with a simple rule. Minimize – or sometimes, eliminate – left-hand turns. It's simple but effective.

Since 2004 UPS has saved an estimated 10 million gallons of gas.

Carbon emissions were reduced by 100,000 metric tons – the equivalent of 5,300 cars off the road for an entire year. ...

Even if this meant traveling a greater distance, results showed that more packages could be delivered in less time with reduced emissions by driving in a series of right-hand loops. It helped the bottom line, met consumer demands and increased safety.

"Left turns are unsafe for everyone," reports the WASHINGTON POST:

Federal data have shown that 53.1 percent of crossing-path crashes involve left turns, but only 5.7 percent involve right turns. That’s almost 10 times as many crashes involving left turns as right. A study by New York City’s transportation planners concluded that left-hand turns were three times as likely to cause a deadly crash involving a pedestrian as right-hand turns. And 36 percent of fatal accidents involving a motorcycle involve a left-hand turn in front of a motorcycle, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association.

“Left turns create some concerns when it comes to generating potential for congestion, back-up traffic flow, safety, accident situations,” said Phil Caruso, the deputy executive director for technical programs at the Institute of Transportation Engineers.

APPLICATION

Choosing to only make right turns is a bit like choosing to only ever do the right thing. Sure, there are plenty of left turns that would get you where you want to go more directly, but at what cost?

Following God's way--the right way--will certainly take you on a more circuitous route, but you can be sure that you will avoid a lot of unnecessary troubles along the way.

"But for those who are righteous, the way is not steep and rough. You are a God who does what is right, and you smooth out the path ahead of them" (Isaiah 26:7, NLT).

Wall Street Ethics

Ethics Justification (Positional) Fact or Fiction?

Source: WHY BE GOOD?: SEEKING OUR BEST SELVES IN A CHALLENGING WORLD by Byron L. Sherwin, p.30

Link to Source: Click here to view source

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2014-09-15

Scripture: Romans 3:10

Author: Illustration Exchange
4

ILLUSTRATION

Byron Sherwin, in his book WHY BE GOOD, sarcastically recalls, "Once I was browsing in a bookstore when I saw a huge volume with an intriguing title: WALL STREET ETHICS. I opened it eagerly only to find that each of its hundreds of pages was blank."

When we read this at IE, we were skeptical. So we did a little research and it turned out the book is real. It's entitled THE COMPLETE BOOK OF WALL STREET ETHICS by Jay L. Walker and was published by William Morrow & Co., April 1987.

Writes one reviewer, "If you are not familiar with this book, it is a joke, and a pretty good one. The pages are all blank. … Today, after so many new Wall Street scandals, it probably needs to be updated with a new edition with more blank pages."

APPLICATION

How would a book that recorded all of the things that you have done to earn your place in heaven read? The only possible answer is that its pages would all be blank. Not only that, but no matter how hard you tried, all of the updated editions would only add more blank pages. That's because nothing that we do with the motive of self-justification will ever be acceptable to God. Rather, earning the prize of heaven requires a righteousness that is perfect, not only in every action, but in every motive behind every action. It requires the righteousness of Christ.

"As the Scriptures say, "No one is righteous--not even one" (Romans 3:10, NLT).

Vanilla Ice Cream and Vapor Lock

Communication Fact or Fiction? Conflict

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2014-07-04

Scripture: Proverbs 15:1

Author: Unknown
6

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Cigar Smoker's Tale Up In Flames

Fact or Fiction? God's Judgment Justice

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2014-03-26

Scripture: Galatians 6:7

Author: Snopes.com/Illustration Exchange
2

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How Do 7 Million Children Disappear?

Integrity Truth Fact or Fiction?

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2013-10-05

Scripture: Psalms 51:6

Author: Illustration Exchange
4

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Do Your Initials Spell Death?

Fact or Fiction? Eternal Life Superstition

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2013-03-11

Scripture: Colossians 2:8 ; 1 Timothy 4:7

Author: Illustration Exchange
6

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"No Brown M&Ms!"

Stewardship Faithfulness Fact or Fiction?

Contributed By: Mitchell Dillon | Date Posted: 2013-02-01

Scripture: Matthew 25:23

Author: Mitchell Dillon
5

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The Love Test

Love (Divine) Testing Fact or Fiction?

Contributed By: Stephen Kingsley | Date Posted: 2012-11-14

Scripture: 2 Corinthians 5:14

Author: Stephen Kingsley
7

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Faith Or Fairy Dust?

Faith Dependence on God Fact or Fiction?

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2012-11-12

Scripture: Matthew 14:29

Author: Illustration Exchange
7

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