The Applejack Invitational Cross Country meet in Lakeville, Minnesota, was underway when Andover High School runner, Josh Ripley, heard something unusual. He was in the first mile of the 2-mile junior varsity race held on September 16, but he stopped to see what was wrong.
“I had heard this scream, and as I rounded a corner, he came into view,” Josh said. What he saw was a competitor from Lakeville South, Mark Paulauskas, who had been injured.
“He was against a fence holding his ankle, and it was bleeding pretty badly,” said Josh.
Josh picked him up and started running with him in his arms. “He just picked me up and started carrying me and trying to calm me down. He said, ‘It’s going to be OK. I’m going to get you to your coaches,’” Mark said, estimating that he was carried about a quarter of a mile.
The two runners finally came to a point in the course where they came into the view of their coaches. There was the 6-foot-5, 185 lb. Josh, from Andover High, carrying the 5-foot-5, 100 lb. Mark, a freshman at Lakeville South High, in his arms.
Josh handed off the injured Mark to his coach. Mark was taken to a hospital emergency room, where doctors determined he had been accidentally spiked by another runner’s shoe. It took 20 stitches to close the gash, and the doctor’s placed Mark in a walking boot to reduce the possibility of the wound re-opening.
Having made sure Mark was in the care of his coaches, Josh resumed the race. He was dead last when he returned to the course, but passed 50 other runners to finish 211th out of 261 runners. However, he was greeted like a winner at the finish line. Mark’s coach and teammates met him at the finish line to thank him for what he had done for Mark.
“I’m just incredibly grateful for what he did,” said Mark.
You and I can have reason to identify with Mark, because due to our sins, WE are fatally “injured” and destined to die (Romans 6:23).
But Someone has come to our rescue!
Jesus, the Son of God, entered the race… the “human race” by putting on human flesh and ran to our aid. Although we were “enemies” because of our rebellion (see Romans 5:10), Jesus paid the price for our sins by giving His life for us on the cross (Ephesians 1:7). And because of Jesus, you and I can not only finish the race but also enjoy an eternal reward: the Crown of Life (James 1:12; Rev 2:10).
We can be victorious through Christ if we will accept His offer of salvation on His terms by placing our faith and trust in Him (Acts 16:30-31), turning from our sins in repentance (Acts 17:30-31), confessing Jesus before men (Romans 10:9-10), and being baptized (immersed) into Christ for the forgiveness of our sins (Acts 2:38; Galatians 3:26-27).
Won’t YOU accept His offer of salvation and allow Him to carry you to victory?
And when you cross the ultimate “finish line,” be sure to thank HIM for the victory!
David A. Sargent, Minister
Church of Christ at Creekwood