Small Group Tools
Contemporary Comments 2017
Texts: Proverbs 28:4, 7, 9; Romans 1:16, 17; Galatians 3:24; Proverbs 28:5; 1 John 2:15-17, Proverbs 29:13
Festivities began this past weekend for the annual Iditarod Race in Alaska. On Monday mushers left Fairbanks on the trek to Nome. Normally the race begins in Willow, but as happened in 2003, the lack of snow forced the race to begin in another location. Followed by many all around the world, this race is indicative of what can happen when individuals have a single focus, a goal to which they are striving.1
In the months preceding the event, IditaRiders bid for the opportunity to ride along with mushers on the 11-mile ceremonial race beginning. Ranging from children of 10 or 11 years old to senior citizens, these individuals articulate a variety of reasons for wanting to participate. A few are teachers who have used the Iditarod to motivate students, others have fallen in love with Alaska at some point, and some are enamored with sled dogs. Whatever the reason, they express their excitement in being a part of “the last great race.” 2
The intense focus of mushers and dogs make this race. Their singular purpose and determination are evident.
In our Sabbath school lesson this week, we are reminded about trusting God as we live a life of faith. Just as a race has a course which must be followed, God’s Word provides a map for the Christian’s life journey. Sometimes the route sees very plain, but at other times one encounters difficulties along the way. At times those difficulties are of our own making, the results of choosing a path that goes in a different direction from God’s leading. But at other times, those difficulties come as the result of living in a world where both God and evil are present.
Whether one is rich or poor, young or old, the salvation that God provides is the same. One chooses to follow God, to allow the Holy Spirit to lead. While that may seem like an easy formula, a day brings with it a myriad of choices. We can make those choices one at a time, in faith that God is leading, that God is right.
Paul understood these choices. In Philippians 3:13, 14, we can see the single-mindedness required in living a life of faith. “Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (NIV).
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