Don’t Settle For Half

July 16, 2012 § Leave a comment

I’m training for a Half Marathon this Fall. I recently learned of a movement to change the name of the Half Marathon to Pikermi. That’s the name of a town in Greece halfway between the cities of Marathon and Athens, the original 26.2 mile distance ran by Pheidippides, as the story goes, to herald Greece’s victory over Persia in 490 B.C. The reason for the proposed name change is that Half Marathon seems to denote a failed Marathon.

The word half does carry stigma. By definition, half is incomplete, inadequate or insufficient. Half is short of the goal. We usually respond unfavorably to the idea (or chicken breast) that is half-baked, the construction project that is abandoned half-finished, the doorbell ringing when you’re half-dressed, a perfectly good piece of carrot cake left half-eaten, and personal efforts that are “half-@$$ed”. Fifty percent is a failing grade one hundred percent of the time.

A friend who is a special agent with the FBI spent this entire past weekend searching for two missing girls in Eastern Iowa. After 21 hours with no sleep, he was at his desk Monday continuing with the case. With two girls of his own at home, I am guessing that a half-hearted search for these two is not an option for him. Only half a man would stop short.

Physically, we would be doomed if our hearts only pumped blood halfway around the circuit, or if nerve connections were only half complete. Historically, geographically, industrially, agriculturally, technologically, our situation now could have been much worse if past leaders had stopped short of their goals.

Theologically, what if God had been half-hearted in His plan for humanity? If Jesus only met us half-way? If His cross was only carried halfway up the hill at Calvary? If His atonement only covered half the sins committed by half the sinners only half of the time?

Instead, the pre-sin creative work of God was whole and “good”. His redemptive work on the cross of Christ was “finished”. Christians are called to love God with ALL of our heart, soul, mind and strength, take captive EVERY thought and make it obedient to Christ, do ALL for the glory of God, and FINISH the race. Whenever I leave something half-done in my life, it tends to haunt me. That is especially true when it has to do with my commitment to God, my marriage, or my neighbor. Loose ends and half-efforts on my part don’t lead to feelings of rest. I want to be like Israel under King Asa, when God’s 100% chosen people “entered into a covenant to seek the Lord, the God of their ancestors, with all their heart and soul.” They “rejoiced about the oath because they had sworn it wholeheartedly. They sought God eagerly, and He was found by them. So the Lord gave them rest on every side.” (From 2 Chronicles 15)

That’s why I’m not just going to run a Half Marathon in October. I’m going to run a whole Pikermi. And then rest.

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