“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith…” – Hebrews 12:1-2a
Don’t Give Up
Success on the baseball field came fairly easy to Stephen Vogt growing up. In high school he was named MVP of his league and set several state records. In college at Azusa Pacific University in Southern California, he was twice named an All-American and had a career batting average over .400 in his four years at the school.
After being drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays in the 12th round of the 2007 MLB Draft, Vogt again experienced success, batting .300 and .291 in his first two seasons of pro baseball. But in his third season in the minor leagues, he experienced the frustration of a season-ending injury only 10 games into the year. On the verge of quitting after months of strenuous physical therapy, Vogt credited his wife, Alyssa, with encouraging him not to give up. Vogt preserved through that trial (and several more to come) and now eight MLB seasons and two All-Star appearances later, he enters into his ninth major-league campaign in 2021 with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
First-century Christians reading the Book of Hebrews were also experiencing hardships. During that time, many followers of Jesus were getting arrested and thrown in prison, simply for being Christians. Much like Alyssa Vogt encouraged her husband not to quit, the author of Hebrews encouraged the first-century Church (and us!) not to quit in our journey with God. The writer proclaims, “And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”
How do we persevere in our faith race, even when life gets difficult? The answer is found in Hebrews 12:2: by “fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.”
Let’s look to Jesus today and not give up on the race He has marked out for us.
— Matt Doan, Pastor in Orange County, Calif.
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