Wednesday, September 29, 2004
My friend Bob is a pastor and a jogger. One day about a year ago, he went jogging and he came home and he started to do some work at his desk. He started to write his address, except his wife noticed it wasn't his address. That was his wife's first clue. It turned out that Bob had suffered a mild stroke while he was running. Now jogging really is good for you, but in this case, he had had a stroke and he didn't even realize it. He ended up losing a lot of speech and thought functions, and thankfully he pretty much recovered from that. But some of the sermon preparation he said, that used to take hours, can now take all week. It's amazing that in the middle of all this, Bob felt no pain when he was having a stroke. The doctor said, "You probably experienced a runner's high." It's a mysterious euphoria that takes over and it actually covers up the pain. It's kind of scary. You can run so hard that you can't feel the damage being done.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Price of a Runner's High."
Our word for today from the Word of God comes from Luke 10, beginning at verse 38. As we read this, remember that image of a man running so hard he isn't able to feel the damage being done. All right, let's go to Martha. "Jesus came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, 'Lord, don't you care that my sister's left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!' 'Martha, Martha,' the Lord answered, 'you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.'"
Well, here's Martha, and boy can I identify with her. She's running hard. She represents so many of us absorbed in our busyness, our deadlines, our stress, our success, our responsibilities, our "to do" list. But Martha is running so hard she's unaware of the damage being done. She was missing her Lord, even though she was serving Him. She was missing her sister. She was showing her worst to the people she loved the most. Sound at all familiar?
Maybe you're running pretty hard right now. Be careful. There might be some damage you can't feel because of your runner's high. You may be unaware of a partner or a child who's being neglected and they're not yelling. They're not screaming for you. They're just quietly hurting and missing you. They've been left in your busy wake, and you can't feel it because you're running so hard. Maybe the people around you are getting stepped on, ignored, feeling used. Could it be that you've become a stress carrier without even being aware of it?
When you walk into a room or an office or church, or wherever you go, do you just bring stress with you and pretty soon the whole room is stressed? Maybe you've been missing Jesus in the process, or losing your love, your joy, your peace. Maybe you're losing someone you care about because you're running so hard. If you're pushing so hard that you can't feel the pain around you, you're pushing too hard.
It's time to hit the brakes isn't it, and pull over for a time of evaluation and getting your perspective back, getting in touch with your key relationships - beginning with Jesus. The price of a runner's high is too high for you to pay. Don't push past the things that really matter.