The Kentucky Derby by Kaleb Lawton

The Kentucky (KY) Derby is the longest running sporting event in the United States, with the first one being held on May 17, 1875. The City of Louisville turns into a whole festival the 2 weeks leading up to the “Run for the Roses”. On Derby Day people gather from all over to watch the horses race around the 1-¼ mile track. (In 2015, there were 170,000+ people in attendance). It is quite incredible to watch the horses move with such speed and power!
In addition to the KY Derby, every year here in Louisville, KY we have firefighters sign up to run in the “Turf Classic” at Churchill Downs. It is a charity race that supports YMCA Safe Place. In this event, firefighters race around the horse track against each other. (It is actually the only race at Churchill Downs that is run by people and not horses.) We wear different t-shirts with a number and corporate sponsor, much like the horses in the Kentucky Derby. It’s a fun event but can be quite exhausting.
This Kentucky Derby I was drawn to this verse in the book of Jeremiah:
“If you have raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses?” - Jeremiah 12:5
I’ve always been a runner. I ran track and cross country in high school as well as marathons. I can’t imagine myself trying to race against horses!! But that is the example we see here. Jeremiah asked God why there is so much evil going on and why he’s not stopping it? God answers Jeremiah in verse 5 and is basically telling him to buckle up. You think it’s hard racing against other human beings, just wait until you have to race against horses. In other words, if you think what you face today is hard, wait until you see what is to come. God compared the wicked people/things Jeremiah was dealing with to a foot race. If he was worn out by that, how can he expect to race against the horses (the extreme wickedness)? Another way of looking at it would be, imagine playing a game of basketball against a bunch of 5 years olds and getting beat! If you couldn’t beat a bunch of kindergarteners how could you expect to have a chance against some NBA players!
I feel that this is really calling us out as Christians today, especially in the West. How many of us are complaining to God about the evils in our world (Yes, there is absolutely evil we deal with today), BUT if we look at scripture the worst is yet to come. If we are discouraged and worn out by the evils we are dealing with today, then we will not be ready for the even harder challenges ahead.
The good news is that we know that the battle has already been won. Imagine the confidence going into a race or the KY Derby knowing you have already won! This is the confidence we have in Christ! And if we know he has already won, then we should be ALL IN! So, it's time to buckle up!! Be on guard against the evils of this world. Stand firm in your faith. Be courageous and strong. And don’t get discouraged!
"Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong." -1 Corinthians 16:13
“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” -Romans 12:21
So brothers and sisters, I must ask you..are you already worn out by the foot race… or are you ready to compete with the horses..?
“..let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of God.” -Hebrews 12:1-2
God Bless,
Kaleb Lawton
Firefighters For Christ- Kentucky Chapter

1 Comment

Victor - June 9th, 2022 at 9:44am

Great story and analogy, Kaleb. Thank you!