Brimstone Motivation 12Jun09

Photo by annette62 courtesy of Flickr.

I run with some hilarious characters.

There’s this one chap, well read and possessed of a keen wit, who regularly and zealously rouses the locals for the weekend trail-running binge. He’s become a sort of town crier. Every Friday, he announces the training run, reports on our latest trail ultra results, and offers a succinct weather report. We’ve come to expect and enjoy it.

With the advent of summer in South Carolina, his job has become much tougher. You try convincing people to run eighteen to twenty miles in the oppressive June heat. In the South, one feels the robust heat index and heady dew point at dawn. It can break the willpower of the most determined runners.

Undaunted, our intrepid motivator has offered up a clarion call to our group and to runners everywhere. Today, he sent out a singularly amazing note. If this doesn’t get you out of bed in the morning, I don’t know what will…

Brothers & Sisters,

This week I’d like to talk about sin. Not gluttony; not sins of the flesh like coveting your neighbor’s wife; not using your mouth to blaspheme instead of raising a joyful noise. No brothers & sisters, I am here to save you from the sin of sloth.

Papists called it “Acedia,” and they numbered it among the Seven Deadly Sins—the worst of the lot. You may know them as the Cardinal Sins. Maybe your grandpappy called them the Mortal Sins. Regardless brethren, I’m here to remind you that idleness and listlessness are the handmaidens of the Devil—the tools of Beelzebub himself.

So I’ll tell you what we’re going to do. First we’re going to congregate. Then we’re going to motivate. We’re going to ambulate. And I can guarantee we will perspirate. We are going to cast that demon Sloth right out of our temple! Are you with me brothers and sisters? Hallelujah!

Yes, mighty temptations face us. We are tempted to stay in bed. We are tempted to put things off until tomorrow. Some say the forest is too big, the trail too long, the weather too unbearable. But it is not so. The forest is not too big when you run with your friends. The trail is never too long when others are there to encourage you. The weather is not too unbearable when you meet it with the joy of the Holy Ghost!

No burden will be placed on you that you cannot overcome. I can testify before each of you, the first step out of bed is the hardest step you will take. If you take that leap of faith, you’ll find yourself helping carry the burden of others and discover the load you carry yourself lighter because of it.

Look to the Good Book for guidance; the book of Hebrews in the New Testament:

“Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” [Hebrews 12:1] “For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what has promised.” [Hebrews 10:36]

Can I get an Amen?

Sunrise service will be held at the outdoor tabernacle of Harbison Forest at 5:40 a.m. The forecast calls for heat: 74 degrees and 84% humidity at dawn. Hot? Yes, my friends that is hot— but not as hot as the eternal fires of damnation.

– Deacon Rick (The Other White Meat)

I expect to see everyone in church this weekend, full of the sorrow that leads to repentance.

– Dean