Chapter 1: the quest for fulfillment

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Surging Toward the Goal

John Towy was so short you might wonder why he bothered to line up. He competed against men whose elbows would literally hit his head as he ran. Once he entered a two-mile race – twenty-two laps of an indoor board track so cut up that it was mainly splinters. After the first half a lap, tragedy struck. His shoe came off. It was the end of the race for Towy. No one can compete against champions, with only one shoe. Yet he kept running: one leg now effectively shorter than the other; splinters, like fiery darts, shooting into his foot. Resisting the pain, closing his mind to the sheer insanity of it, he pressed on, lap after lap after lap. At the end of lap twenty, he took the lead. A lap later, still in front, gold seemed a certainty. Then Forest Efaw, towering eleven inches taller than Towy, began to close in. Efaw gave it everything he had. Towy kept pumping those aching legs; pounding that paining foot. The finish was just feet away. Towy was still ahead; Efaw still gaining. Just before the tape, Efaw burst through to win by a foot (take whatever way you like).272

If athletes do such things, often without Christ, just to prove they can rapidly put one leg in front of the other, then I can hardly wait to hear what you will accomplish, empowered by the Spirit, eyes fixed on eternal goals.

Born in despair; reborn to conquer.
Lost in defeat; saved to triumph.
Destined for greatness,
Bound for glory,
Held in love,
Girded with truth,
Filled with might;
Free the slave,
Heal the sick,
Raise the dead,
Astound the world.

Out on a Limb for God

We should not demand iron-clad guarantees of success before attempting something big for the Almighty. What value can we place on one human soul?a The slightest possibility of winning someone for Christ should be enough to set us ablaze.

We must resist the urge to play safe and bury our talent.b Why let fear of failure immobilize us? Look not at the impossibility of the situation; look at the impossibility of God ever failing. Like Peter walking the waves, if we begin to sink, Jesus is there, ready to grasp our hand.

Work hard. Make financial, social and recreational sacrifices, like an athlete training for Olympic gold. Invest time and effort into a ministry that is presently non-existent. That’s faith in action. That’s following the path of the good and faithful servant. In submission to God, ears tuned to heaven’s frequency, such risks are honoring to God. You’re investing in eternal glory.

Grub, stretch your wings;

Worm, you’re gonna fly.
Dunce, astound the school.
Slave, prepare to rule.
Cleaner, address the throng.
Welder, inspire with song.
Plumber, rebuke that cancer.
Mother, kings you’ll counsel.
Stone, you’re gonna sparkle;
Rock, you’re solid opal.


Though most of the following have little in common with the subject matter of this book, I have drawn from them in my search for powerful illustrations and for confirmation of my biblical expositions.
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Greenman, Bill How to Find Your Purpose in Life Whitaker, Springdale Pennsylvania, 1987.

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