While attending college, I worked for a locally owned ladies shoe store in downtown Springfield, MO. On my first day, the owner had to run to the bank. He specifically said, “Dave, you are in charge until I get back.”
Right after he left, a man came in with his 16-year old daughter. The man asked me, “Are you in charge?”
Based on the clear statement of my boss, the answer was “yes.” Immediately, the man began to complain that the store had taken advantage of his daughter. He said that someone in this store sold her shoes that were too expensive, the wrong size, and that made her look “dorky.” What was I going to do about it?
Me? I tried to explain that this was my first day and that the boss would be back soon. The man was quiet for a moment and then growled, “So, no one is in charge here.” And he stormed out.
This painful memory came to mind as I watched the 2019 Preakness Stakes in May. As the race started, maiden race horse Bodexpress “bucked off” jockey John Velasquez at the gate.
At that point, absolutely no one was in charge of this spirited steed. He was totally on his own and enjoying his new found freedom. Indeed, Bodexpress even crossed the finish line ahead of some other horses! However, since the finish line did not mean anything to him, Bodexpress ran the whole course again just because he could.
Of course, he was disqualified when the jockey landed in the dirt, but it didn’t matter to Bodexpress. He knew what to do and fulfilled his natural instincts, even though he was insubordinate, ineligible, and irrelevant.
Bodexpress is like so many people in the world who live without Christ. They are running a futile race to nowhere in particular. In an act of rebellion, they have “bucked off” principles that would guide and guard their lives. While acting in what they call “freedom,” they have actually become unqualified for the prize. (1 Corinthians 9:24)
The Apostle Paul warned us to not run the race of life in vain (Galatians 2:2). We must not proceed with aimless ambition, but focus on the goal (prize) of Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:13-14). How sad it would be to finish the course, only to learn that we are disqualified because we bucked off the One who is really in charge.
Psalm 119:32 challenges us to run this race of life according to the commandments of the Lord. And then we will win the prize. Try it!