For our July book recommendation Anchored Voices is honored to be able to share a book excerpt from Kari Patterson’s new book Sacred Mundane now available at Amazon.
How Will You Run the Last Leg?
Several years ago I ran in the world’s longest relay race, Hood-to-Coast. Our team was named “Girls and Guys with Aching Thighs,” and this was an apt description! It was an incredible experience, spending thirty hours in a van with six other sweaty runners, sleeping on the ground, running in the middle of the night, becoming fast friends in that surprisingly immediate way that only really uncomfortable circumstance can bring.
There were twelve of us who ran three legs each, and I had the joy of being the last runner. This meant I ran the final stretch of the entire 200-mile race, stepping off pavement and onto sand, through the finish line.
I’ll never forget the feeling of finishing well, and the key was, I knew when the end of the race was near.
See, each leg of the race had a map, complete with elevation and course description. I had studied my legs. I knew that last one—how it would climb for a straight mile, then drop steeply at the end, then wind through the city of Seaside, then end up on the beach.
When I reached the steep descent, I knew it was time to pour it all out. My quads hurt so bad. Our team name wasn’t cute then—this was killin’ me! But there was no use holding back, no reason to save strength for later. I knew I’d never regret giving it my all. I ran as hard as I could.
When I saw the ocean, I can’t describe the joy in my heart. The view would have been breathtaking, but my breath was already taken. Thousands of people crowded on the beach, congratulating each other, an overwhelming celebration. What a glorious end!
My team was there too, my beloved friends, cheering me on through those final strides off the sidewalk and onto the sand and through the finish line. I was tired but overjoyed. I was so glad I had given it my all.
So glad I’d poured out.
Friends, we’re on the last leg.
Friends, Jesus is returning. Like, soon.
Now believe me, I am the furthest thing from an eschatology-obsessed, reading-Revelation-over-and-over, stockpiling-supplies-for-Armageddon kind of girl. Okay? I have zero interest in end-times arguments and pre-trib or post-trib camps.
This isn’t the time to huddle together under banners Jesus didn’t wave.
Jesus did give us some pretty specific instruction, however, and one of the most repeated was simply this: know the signs of the times.
Throughout the Gospels, Jesus exhorts us, “Stay awake.” He warns us that just as in the days of Noah, the end will come upon many when they least expect it. He gives us many clues to help discern when his return is near, a course map so to speak, and although no one knows the day, we do know the season.
We have a pretty clear description of the last leg. And Jesus says explicitly, “When these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near” (Luke 21:28).
Friends, our full redemption is drawing near. As I have been praying about this chapter, asking specifically what God wanted me to say, I heard this simple phrase over and over in my heart: “Tell them I’m coming soon.”
So there. Jesus is coming soon. I have no definition of what “soon” is, but there is no way I’m ignoring this sense in my spirit, and I have seen dozens of things lining up in times recently that convince me our time here is coming to a close. I’ve seen the course description of this final stretch.
There’s a steep descent upon us, and it’s moments before the ocean opens up before us and we see the finish line.
These are the days for pouring out.
In the book of James, God gives a harsh indictment of the rich because they hoarded their resources instead of pouring them out for others. Specifically, James writes, “You have laid up treasure in the last days” (James 5:3). In other words, this is the time to pour out, not store up. Now is not the time to lay up treasures here on earth. Now is not the time to hold back, saving some for later.
These are the last days, a time for all to pour out, and our glorious God is going first.
We are seeing unprecedented outpouring of his Spirit on this earth in prophecy and signs, in miracles and movements. And we are also seeing darkness. We are seeing the chasm grow wide and the gradual separation between opposing kingdoms.
It’s becoming increasingly difficult to live lukewarm, and the fence won’t hold us up any longer. We have to pick a side. Those who choose Christ are given a precious and great promise: “In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people . . . and everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Acts 2:17, 21).
He’s been calling us to bear fruit, and it’s almost harvest time.
Now, let’s bring this full circle. My desire is that we would let our days transform our lives. That we’d dip down into our ordinary days in such a way that we are radically transformed from the inside out. That our mindsets change, our habits change, our marriages change, our budgets change, our lives change. Why? So we can bear fruit that nourishes those near and far and displays God’s glory for all to see. This is how we prepare for every ordinary Tuesday, and this is how we prepare for the glorious return of Christ. Jesus already promised he will commend those who were faithful with little, so our simple aim is to live our sacred mundane in a way that pleases him.
Excerpt from Sacred Mundane: How to find freedom, purpose, and joy, available through Amazon or directly through www.karipatterson.com. Kari reaches thousands of women worldwide through speaking events and her popular blog, Sacred Mundane. She’s a pastor’s wife, homeschool mom, Bible teacher, mentor, and passionate seeker of truth. All royalties from the sale of this book will benefit World Vision’s work with women and children in need.