Back to the Starting Block

Excerpt from Lesson of Pastor Lester A. McCorn

Psalms 37 (New International Version)

1 Do not fret because of those who are evil or be envious of those who do wrong;
2 for like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away.
3 Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
4 Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
5 Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this:
6 He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun.
7 Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.
8 Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil.
9 For those who are evil will be destroyed, but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land.
10 A little while, and the wicked will be no more; though you look for them, they will not be found.

11 But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy peace and prosperity.
12 The wicked plot against the righteous and gnash their teeth at them;
13 but the Lord laughs at the wicked, for he knows their day is coming.
14 The wicked draw the sword and bend the bow to bring down the poor and needy,
    to slay those whose ways are upright.
15 But their swords will pierce their own hearts, and their bows will be broken.
16 Better the little that the righteous have than the wealth of many wicked;
17 for the power of the wicked will be broken, but the Lord upholds the righteous.
18 The blameless spend their days under the Lord’s care, and their inheritance will endure forever.
19 In times of disaster they will not wither; in days of famine they will enjoy plenty.
20 But the wicked will perish: Though the Lord’s enemies are like the flowers of the field,
    they will be consumed, they will go up in smoke.
21 The wicked borrow and do not repay, but the righteous give generously;
22 those the Lord blesses will inherit the land, but those he curses will be destroyed.
23 The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him;
24 though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand.
25 I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken
    or their children begging bread.
26 They are always generous and lend freely; their children will be a blessing.
27 Turn from evil and do good; then you will dwell in the land forever.
28 For the Lord loves the just and will not forsake his faithful ones. Wrongdoers will be completely destroyed[c]; the offspring of the wicked will perish.
29 The righteous will inherit the land and dwell in it forever.
30 The mouths of the righteous utter wisdom, and their tongues speak what is just.
31 The law of their God is in their hearts; their feet do not slip.
32 The wicked lie in wait for the righteous, intent on putting them to death;
33 but the Lord will not leave them in the power of the wicked or let them be condemned when brought to trial.
34 Hope in the Lord and keep his way.
He will exalt you to inherit the land; when the wicked are destroyed, you will see it.
35 I have seen a wicked and ruthless man flourishing like a luxuriant native tree,
36 but he soon passed away and was no more; though I looked for him, he could not be found.
37 Consider the blameless, observe the upright; a future awaits those who seek peace.
38 But all sinners will be destroyed; there will be no future for the wicked.
39 The salvation of the righteous comes from the Lord; he is their stronghold in time of trouble.
40 The Lord helps them and delivers them; he delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in him.

We have been obsessed with the world of Olympics this year. It is fascinating to watch the competition and see our young men and women of America win many awards including the Gold Medals. America’s Women Olympic Track Team were amazing. However, during their race, something happened and caused them to stumble. Allyson Felix was hit in her arm during the race and dropped the baton. But Allyson responded quickly and did not give up. She told the sister to pick up the baton and keep on running even if she was last and behind. Sometimes it looks like we have dropped the baton and have been defeated. The sisters from America went on to win the race.

Some of us give up too quickly and throw in the towel. It is time for us to lodge our protest. Tell the devil, “you thought you tripped me up and knocked me down, however, I am going to keep on running to win this race.” We have had some opposition along the way, defeats, and temporary disappointments. God is not through with us yet. It is time to go back to the starting block. There is value in going back to the starting block. The word of God shared here tells us that we can go back to the starting block. God has a bigger plan for our lives. Go back to God’s word and the personal vision he shared with you. Go back to the starting block and reposition yourself. If you don't get in the race, you cannot win or be a champion. Go back to the starting block and God will give you another chance. Don't try to run someone else's race. Know the team you are on. You are fighting for your purpose and for your team. No matter how long it takes you, keep on running. Trust God and hold on to his unchanging hands. Don't let it be our plan. Let it be God's plan that is our plan. Listen to God and follow his plan. Go back to the place where God will allow you to start over and move towards your life mission and goals. It's one thing to fail, it's another thing to feel like a failure. You are not a failure. God does not want us to walk around in fear or in failure. Join the right team and make sure you are running for the right thing.

A Presidential candidate recently said that “African Americans have nothing to lose so we should vote for him.” We need to ask ourselves, who is on God’s side? Who is fighting for us? Go back to the starting block. Three points to remember when going back to the starting block:

1. Get on your mark. Get in position. Get in position. The right position. “Look to the hills from whence cometh your help. Your help comes from God.” Look towards the “author and the finisher of your faith.” Some of us have suffered some terrible defeats because we got ahead of God. Avoid having false starts. Go back to the starting block, make yourself do it, get in the right position to make it to your destination. Let God fight your battles. Take delight in the Lord and he will give you “the desires of your heart.” God has the last word. God will restore you, redeem you, and get you on your mark.

2. Get set. Be prepared. Don't miss out on opportunities because you are not in position and prepared. Remember the story of the ant and the grasshopper? The grasshopper was not prepared for the winter. The ant knew how to prepare for the winter, save and store up food, and look out for the other ants. In the Olympics, the athletes prepare all of their lives so that they can give their best during the Olympics for an opportunity to win. They are a team and they help each other to win. Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all of your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all of your ways submit to him, and he will make your path straight.”

3. Go. Go and pursue your end goal. Pursue and go after it and see it within your grasp. Know that you have a chance to win. Your pursuit will become better and stronger because you are prepared for it now. The road ahead will get shorter and smaller because you have been conditioning, positioning, and preparing yourself. Realize that God has the finish line waiting for you. God wants to be sure that you are willing to run the race to the end to win. You must finish strong. In order to enter into the finals, sometimes you have to run by yourself in the spotlight. That's what happens when you go back to the starting block. God will place you in the spotlight. Don’t give up, give it your all, and keep on going, even when it seems that you are running with no help. There is somebody in the stands cheering for you. You are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses. God is the “author and the finisher of our faith.” God, “we are running, trying to make a hundred because 99.5 just won’t do.” We will not stop running, we will not give up, and we will receive the Gold Medal that God has for us. Be positioned, be prepared, and go and pursue your dreams. By appeal, God has given you a second chance. Get back up, get yourself together, dust yourself off, and square your shoulders. On your mark, get set, and go! Amen.