When I was in college the sporting world was a-buzz with the name Roger Bannister. Bannister was a medical student in the UK, but his passion was running. At 6’2” and 154 pounds he seemed to have the physical equipment for it, but more than that, he had the resolve.
Bannister’s obsession was to run a mile in less than four minutes. Though runners had chased that goal for decades, the current world record was just over four minutes, set nine years earlier. Pundits assured the world that no one would ever run a sub-four minute mile because the human body was not capable of sustaining that level of physical exertion for that period of time. Bannister believed they were wrong and set out to prove it.
Late on a cloudy afternoon, May 6, 1954, 25-year old Bannister and five other athletes readied at the starting blocks on the track at Oxford University. Three minutes and 59.4 seconds later, Roger Bannister collapsed, fully spent, into the arms of his handlers, the first person ever to run a mile in less than four minutes. The sports world went crazy. Later that summer he would race again and shave three seconds off his record.
Roger Bannister died March 8, 2018, at the age of 88. He had become a famed neurologist, but also the victim of advanced Parkinson’s disease complicated by disabling injuries received in an automobile accident. However, that is not the end of the Bannister story.
When the athletic world discovered that the human body could run a mile in less than four minutes others began to attack that summit. Since then more than 17 seconds have been shaved off the record which now stands at 3:43:14. But here is the astonishing fact: a total of 4,518 runners have broken the four-minute mile since Bannister’s record, including more than a dozen high school students.
Here is my take-away: Many victories are never claimed if we can’t bring ourselves to believe they’re achievable. What might happen if we trusted the Coach and His promise that “nothing is impossible”? Might He provide the infusion of Holy Spirit power to achieve a world-changing victory? Might His goal be that your church make a significant impact on your city? Might His goal be standing-room only when your congregation gathers? Might His goal be that your church become a force for the changing of lives…scores, hundreds. Weekly. Daily.
What do you believe is possible for your church? Are you satisfied it matches His goal?
By Don Jacobsen