Set The Pace

On May 6, 1954, something happened that had not happened before in recorded history: Roger Bannister ran a mile in under four minutes. Regarding this accomplishment Bannister said there was, “…a belief that it couldn’t be done, but I think it was more of a psychological barrier than a physical barrier.”

While it took all of recorded history for the first sub-four minute mile to be run, just 46 days later another runner, John Landy, beat Bannister’s time. Within three years 16 people had run sub-four minute miles. The psychological barrier was broken. The limits of possibility had been forever expanded.

To many people, keeping God’s commandments seems impossible. The characteristics Jesus described in the sermon on the mount—being poor in spirit, meek, hungry for righteousness, merciful, pure in heart, peacemakers (Matthew 5:3-9)—are viewed as nice ideas that don’t work in the real world. Many times people don’t believe it is possible to implement those characteristics because they’ve never seen anyone live that way. To paraphrase Roger Bannister, many people have a belief it cannot be done.

We’ve been sent into the world to prove them wrong.

In Matthew 5:14 Jesus says we are “the light of the world.” To remind us that we have a responsibility beyond ourselves, Jesus continued, “A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:14-16).

When Roger Bannister ran a mile in less than four minutes he changed the world’s perception of what was possible. When we let our light shine—when we do good to those who hate us (Matthew 5:44), rejoice when suffering for Jesus’ sake (1 Peter 4:12-13), and really love God with all our strength (Mark 12:30)—we create new possibilities for those around us. Benjamin Franklin once said, “the best sermon is a good example.” By setting a godly example—at work, at home, in the world and even in the church—we set a pace for others to follow. Like those who followed Roger Bannister, we expand the limits of what they think is possible.

©2024 Church of the Eternal God