I enjoy doing 5ks. Many think its crazy to enjoy walking or running 3.1 miles. It really isn’t about that as much as the encouragement that you get from the event. Well the encouragement and race swag! As I was jogging the Atlanta Hawks 5k a week ago, a car stopped, rolled down the window, and the lady inside yells ‘you are doing a good job’. I waved and said thanks. She just drove away. Where else do people stop and encourage you like that.
As I got to the final part of the race, I passed a homeless man on the track. I saw the police and volunteer staff interacting with him and I assumed they would try to get him off the race track. I didn’t think much about it and finished my race. As I was getting my finisher’s t-shirt and bananas, I saw the homeless man in the finisher’s food! He had the finisher’s medal and was eating the food. We talked for awhile and it was clear he was troubled.
As I look back on him finishing I thought about how what the ATC and Hawks did illustrated mercy and grace.
Mercy – The Atlanta Track Club and the police had every right to ask the homeless man to move out of the way. He was pushing a cart! Many of the runners are going for time and he is in the way. Plus he clearly didn’t pay the fee. However, they allowed him to stay on the same track as everyone else.
Grace – Not only did they show the man mercy, but grace. They gave him a finisher’s medal which he didn’t earn. They gave him finisher’s food which he did not pay for. They gave him gifts because of who they were not because of what the man had done.
God gives us mercy and grace. We deserved judgement and pain, but He gives us His riches. We didn’t earn salvation, He just gives it to us because of who He is.