Are You a Cheetah?

…let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. –Hebrews 12:1

A PBS webpage noted the following about the cheetah:

“Running as fast as 70 miles per hour over short distances, the cheetah is the fastest mammal on Earth. Swiftly rushing to make its kill, the cheetah uses its great speed to run down prey after stalking it closely. Yet in spite of its quickness, some victims get away. A fast starter, the cheetah lacks stamina and tires quickly, able only to maintain top speed for a few hundred yards.”

“…a fast starter, the cheetah lacks stamina and tires quickly…” The description sounds like some Christ-followers I’ve known, myself included. If following Christ was like a highway, I believe the shoulders of that highway would be littered with people who had started out well, but quickly broke down along the journey. In my own early days of ministry involvement, I think I was cheetah-like; a fast starter with lots of energy. I thought that charisma and drive alone would be enough to overcome the Enemy. Like many others, I learned that these things only carry you so far before the gas tanks of ministry and personal spiritual growth run dry.

The journey of the Christ-follower has been compared to a marathon rather than a sprint–and I believe that the same comparison applies to all who serve in ministry–from the new ministry volunteer to the professional clergy. In the long run, stamina, perseverance, and faithfulness produce more effective ministry than high-energy ministry that can’t be maintained for long. So, remember when it comes to serving Christ, don’t be a cheetah!

How does one keep the gas tank full to be effective on the long journey of the Christian life? The perseverance needed only comes through daily commitment, obedience, and communion with Christ. He is the source of our strength and our only hope to provide the power needed to serve Him with effectiveness day in and day out.

GOING DEEPER:
1. What are some ways that your own personality and energy can get in the way of living for Christ and serving Him?

2. Consider your own life for a few moments. How are you approaching your journey with Christ? Are you more like a sprinter or a marathon runner? What decisions or actions can you make to ensure that you will have enough strength to keep the journey going over the course of your life?

FURTHER READING:
Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23; John 15:1-8; Galatians 6:9

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Jim Liebelt

Jim is Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for HomeWord. Jim has over 35 years of experience as a youth and family ministry specialist, having served over the years as a pastor, author, consultant, mentor, trainer, college instructor, and speaker. Jim’s HomeWord culture blog also appears on Crosswalk.com and Religiontoday.com. Jim and his wife Jenny live in Quincy, MA.

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