The Parable of the Two Runners

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Parable of the Two Runners

There were two men running in a race. The one runner had no other goal in mind then to be the first to cross the finish line and to be declared the victor. Winning meant everything to him. As far as he was concerned, if he could not win the race, there was no real reason to run the race. The other runner had a completely different attitude. He was definitely in the race to do his best, but to him crossing the finish line first was not necessarily the goal. For you see, this runner was more concerned with running the race well.

And so there they were, both at the starting line anticipating the start of the race. Soon the gun was fired and the runners were off, running towards the finish line which was some distance away.

As the race progressed the runner whose objective it was to win at any cost began cutting other runners off causing some to trip and fall. Some were even injured to the point where they could not finish the race. However, this did not stop this runner. He had a race to win. So he continued on his way. The other runner; however, would stop and help those who had fallen, and ensured that they were off of the track out of harms way. After seeing to the well being of his fellow runners he continued on his way running at a steady pace.

During the course of the race there were some runners who soon ran out of energy and instead of running began walking at a fast pace. There were others who wanted to quit believing that there was no way possible for them to finish the race, let alone win the race. The runner with the goal of winning the race noticed this and was determined to use this to his advantage for this meant that there were now fewer people competing for the prize. Victory to him was beginning to look sweeter and sweeter. The other runner noticing that some of his fellow runners were growing weary would run along side of them and speak to them and encourage them to not quit, but to continue to run the race as best they could. Soon those who had all but given up were re energized and began to give it their all to finish the race.

Soon the finish line was in sight. The runner whose goal it was to be declared the winner was exhausted. He had run a long, hard race, but with the finish line just in sight he was determined to be the first to cross. He was well in the lead, but there were some runners that were rapidly gaining on him. With all of his might and strength he ran as hard and as fast as he could hoping that no other runner would catch him and pass him and cross the finish line before him. The other runner was a little distance behind. He too now had sight of the finish line but continued to run the race at a steady pace. A short time later, the one runner had achieved his goal. He had crossed the finish line first and thus became the winner of the race. The crowd applauded in excitement.

Shortly thereafter, the other runner also reached the finish line. As he was about to cross the line he stopped. There was a hush over the audience as they were amazed that a runner would stop just short of crossing the finish line. The runner turned and looked behind him. He saw some of his fellow runners that were struggling to finish the race. Without hesitation he ran back to encourage the runners once again not to quit but to push forward and endure to the end. All of the runners finally made it across the finish line with this runner being the last one to cross. For a moment there was a deep silence from the crowd. And then it happened. One by one people slowly began to stand to their feet and applaud this runner. The applause was longer and louder than it had been for the runner who “won” the race. This left the “winner” both amazed and confused. He did not understand why this runner who had crossed the finish line last was receiving so much recognition especially since he had clearly lost the race.

When all is said and done, which of these two runners was the real winner of the race?