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You Have a Purpose (i)

""For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart."
Jeremiah 29:11-13
Posted on:
January 15, 2024

You have a purpose

No matter what others say, live on purpose. Consider the story of Cliff Young.

His name was Cliff Young and he wasn’t that young anymore. He was 61 years old. He was a farmer. Mr. Young had showed up for the race in his Osh Kosh overalls and with his work boots on, with galoshes over top.

Just in case it rained.

He had no Nike sponsorship. He had no wife – hadn’t had one ever. Lived with his mother. Never ran in any kind of race before. Never ran a 5 mile race, or a half-marathon, not even a marathon.

But there he was standing in his work boots at the starting line of an ultra-marathon, the most gruelling marathon in the world, a 544 mile marathon.

Try wrapping your head around pounding the concrete with one foot after another for 544 endless, stretching miles.

First thing Cliff did was take out his teeth. Said his false teeth rattled when he ran.

Said he grew up on a farm with sheep and no four wheelers, no horses, so the only way to round up sheep was on the run. Sometimes the best training for the really big things is just the everyday things.

Sometimes the best training for the really big things is just the everyday things.

That’s what Cliff said: “Whenever the storms would roll in, I’d have to go run and round up the sheep.” 2,000 head of sheep. 2,000 acres of land.

“Sometimes I’d have to run those sheep for two or three days. I can run this race; it’s only two more days. Five days. I’ve run sheep for three.”

He doesn’t run. He shuffles, more like it. Straight back. Arms dangling. Feet awkwardly shuffling along.

Cliff eats dust. For 18 hours, the racers blow down the road, far down the road, and old Cliff just shuffles on behind.

The conventional plan to win an ultra-marathon has always been, to run 544 straight miles: 18 hours of running, 6 hours of sleeping, rinse and repeat for 5 days, 6 days, 7 days.

The dark falls in. Runners sleep. Cameras get turned off. Reporters go to bed.

Cliff Young runs on through the dark — because he didn’t know you were supposed to stop.

He had no idea that the accepted way professional runners approached an ultra-marathon race was to run 18 hours, sleep 6, for 7 days straight. But Cliff Young didn’t know that. He didn’t know the accepted way. He only knew what he did regularly back home, the way he had always done it: You run on through the dark.

Turns out that when Cliff Young said he gathered sheep around his farm for three days, he meant he’d run across 2,000 acres of farmland for three days straight without stopping or sleeping, without the dark ever stopping him. You gathered sheep by running through the dark.

So along the endless stretches of highway, a tiny shadow of an old man shuffled along, one foot after another, right through the heat, right through the night. Cliff gained ground.

And somewhere at the outset of the night, Cliff Young in his overalls, he shuffled passed the toned runners half his age. And by the morning light, teethless Cliff Young who wasn’t really quite that young at all, he was a tiny shadow — far, far ahead of the professional athletes.

For five days and fifteen hours, and four minutes straight, Cliff Young ran, never once stopping for the dark – never stopping until the old sheep farmer crossed the finish line – First. He crossed the finish line first.

Beating a world record. By two whole days.

What is your response?
As you read the devotional, set some time aside to ask God how the word can change you today.
James 1:22 says "Do not merely listen to the word...do what it says." How can you live out the challenges set, or share the encouragement from the post today?
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