Daily Devotional

For Aug 20, 2014 ← Return

The Mailman Marathoner

AN AMAZING FACT:  Back in 1904, a mailman in Havana, Cuba, read in a newspaper that the Olympic Games that year would be held in St. Louis, Missouri. That’s when the 5-foot-1-inch Felix Carvajal suddenly decided to run in the Olympics. Nearly penniless, and with no formal running experience or sponsor, Felix decided to pay his own way to the Games. After work he would go to Havana’s Central Plaza and run in circles to draw a crowd. He would then announce his intention to claim a prize for the greater glory of Cuba. His appreciative audience donated enough money to help him enter the race and secure Felix’s travel on a steamer bound for New Orleans.

However, the boat passage was expensive, and what little money Felix had left was stolen in New Orleans. Undaunted, Felix Carvajal walked, ran, and hitchhiked 700 miles to St. Louis, arriving moments before the
marathon start. It was a 100-degree day, and Felix was wearing woolen trousers, heavy shoes, and a felt beret. The race was delayed while Felix’s trousers were cut off to fashion a pair of running shorts. Then, with a bang, the 31 runners were on their way.

Amazingly, Felix kept pace easily, seemingly unconcerned over the prospects of victory, even chatting with bystanders. Felix hadn’t eaten for more than two days, and there was only one water station on the more than 26 miles of dusty heat, so he picked a few apples from a nearby orchard. Alas, the green apples triggered wrenching stomach cramps,
causing another unscheduled pit stop and precious minutes lost.

Incredibly, Felix still finished fourth among a field of the world’s best runners. Hailed by the international press for his determination and amiable manner, he returned to Cuba a hero and resumed his mail route. We can’t help but believe Felix would have won the 1904 Olympic marathon if he had been better prepared.

Are you prepared to win your spiritual race? The Bible says in order to be successful we should run like we mean it and be “temperate in all things.” Keep in mind the prize—not a “perishable crown,” but one that lasts forever!

Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.
- 1 Corinthians 9:24

And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.
- 1 Corinthians 9:25

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