Today’s Scripture: Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1‑2

On June 21, 19541, John Landy and Roger Bannister would race in “The Mile of the Century.” These two racers were the first two people recorded to run a sub 4-minute mile. This race, featuring the two fastest mile runners, was watched and listened to by millions of people on both television and radio.

John Landy had a slight lead in front of Bannister entering the final turn of the race. The crowd was cheering in the excitement of this extremely close race. The crowd was so loud that Landy could no longer hear Bannister running behind him. Landy quickly glanced over his left shoulder to see where Bannister was. With that quick glance, Landy lost the race. Why? He lost his focus.

There are some people who read about the great cloud of witnesses and focus on them. They wonder what a certain person who has gone before would think of a particular decision, or they go so far as to talk to someone who has died (this is a practice of the occult). There are others who focus on the things of this world like fame or wealth. Regardless, they have taken their eyes off of Jesus and consequently, are not running the race as they ought. Anything that takes our eyes off of Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith, can cause us to lose the race.

We need to be focused runners. Runners who will keep our eyes on Christ, so we can say at the end of our lives, “I have run the race well.” Get your head out of the clouds and focus on what truly matters.

Devotional by Jim Scudder Jr.