"Now since the same promise of 'rest' is offered to us today, let us be continually on our guard that none of us even looks like failing to attain it..." (Hebrews 4:1)
Fairly ominous sounding words, aren't they? Yet that warning idea - that "failing to attain it" - can also be translated as "be behind" or "late," "come after," as in second place, or "come too late." Which, all of them, for me, call to mind the imagery of a footrace, a marathon, where that top guy is just unreachable, unbeatable. Except, for us, who is our "top guy"?
Let's jump ahead a little and remind our hearts of the complexion of this particular race we're running:
"Surrounded then as we are by these serried ranks of witnesses, let us strip off everything that hinders us, as well as the sin which dogs our feet, and let us run the race that we have to run with patience, our eyes fixed on Jesus the source and the goal of our faith." (Hebrews 12:1,2a)
Do you see Him there ahead of you, running hard, calling you closer? He is looking over His shoulder with a smile, even a laugh, beckoning you nearer, nearer as He runs with you toward the finish-line that is His eternal presence...