The 1982 New York City Marathon started at 10:30 a.m. with more than 15,000 runners. Seven hours later 13,609 runners had completed the 26-mile race. Darkness began to fall and cleanup crews were sweeping up the liter, but the race was not over. A young woman with her aluminum crutches was making her way along the course. Six times she fell down, but each time she got up and kept moving down the course. Linda Downs, born with cerebral palsy, was determined to finish the race. At the eighteen mile mark her sister, mother, and some of her friends cheered her on to finish. There were others who encouraged her in the race. Eleven hours after she started the race, black and blue from the jarring of the crutches, she crossed the finish line. What a difference encouragement can make. Everyone needs encouragement.
The world is full of discouragers. However, as Christians we are to be in the encouragement business. We have a responsibility and it is our Christian duty to encourage one another in the race of faith. Hebrews 10:24-25, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”