From the time I exited the water on the swim, till I crossed the finish line, I passed almost 1,000 people, but I was still somewhere in the 600's. There was always a line of people in front of me, no matter how fast I ran. As I ran, I thought about this, how no matter what, I will never be the best. If I'm seeking significance in this, I'll always come up empty. Sometimes we strive so hard to be the best, and when this is our pursuit, we will do anything to get there. In an age where it seems every athlete is using performance enhancing drugs, it's easy to see what this mindset can do.
It's refreshing and peaceful to know that God does not ask us to be the best there is. He does not tell us that we must be #1 in order to be invited to heaven. Instead He extends grace to us and states that He wants us in a state of weakness, for when we are weak He is strong. He states that we should do the best we possibly can, to work as if working for the Lord not for man, but He does not require us to be #1. What a refreshing thought that we don't have to outdo everyone around us, that we don't have to compete with those around us, but that we can join together, encouraging each other to be the best we can be.
There was such great camaraderie among these athletes, because the goal of the Ironman is to finish. As you pass people (or get passed) they always encourage you and you encourage them. There is not the competitive side with each other, but truly a challenge to oneself to finish. And this is how the race of life should be. We should not be running to beat those around us, running solely for ourselves, but we should be encouraging of those around us, pulling them along, and striving for the finish.