Running since 1861, The Melbourne Cup is Australia’s major thoroughbred horse race. Billed as The race that stops a nation, it is a race for three-year-olds and over, over a distance of 3,200 metres. It is the richest and most prestigious “two-mile” handicap in the world, and one of the richest turf races in the world. The event is held at around 3 pm on the first Tuesday in November by the Victoria Racing Club, on the Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne.
The total prize money for the 2011 race will be AUD$6.175 million, plus the present trophy that is made of 1.65 kg of 18-carat gold in 34 pieces, hand beaten for over 200 hours and valued at $125,000 dollars.
My observation of this event, and all that it entails through it’s imagery and scenes throughout the day, brings simple scriptures from the Bible, to life!
If you have ever attended the Melbourne Cup, or watched the news on the day, you will have seen the flamboyance, colour and pageantry.
There are hats, frocks, suits on display, the fashion parade, the free flowing of ‘bubbly’ and money, the laughter, sillyness and seriousness all mixed together, all dressed up and enjoying every minute of it, is what brings attention to the race – it is, “The Crowd”.
Then there is the “Race Horse”. It has been through a rigorous training, fine tuned and ready to run. The noise of the crowd is a little unsettling. Confined behind the barrier and the tension mounts. With a startling bang the barrier disappears, the crowd roars and the horse explodes from the the starting gate… its race has begun!
It is easy for the first 1,000 meters. The horse finds its stride and is running its race well. The crowd cheers it on. The noise is an unbearable distraction that can easily hinder its race but the horse hears only it’s master’s voice – “The Jockey”.
The Jockey is experienced and in firm control as the horse heeds his command. For the Jockey knows what it will take to win. He encourages and sets the horse into position. Discipline is the order now. Should the horse begin to lag, or get distracted by fatigue or the crowd, a guiding nudge, a correcting kick or whip spurs him on and focus is restored.
The final turn.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as children? It says, “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his child.”
The Race Horse sees the prized line and is spurred on by the Jockey and the roar of the crowd.
The Jockey sees not the line, or the crowd, or the weather, or anything else… his minds-eye is upon the Prize!
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.
1 Corinthians 9:24-25
Will we be in the race or be in the crowd on the sidelines?
Are we not running a race? The race of life.
At the end of your race, will you be wearing the “crown that lasts forever” ?
At the end of the day, will you know the elation and joy of having run in the greatest race of all – the race into Eternity!
It is never too late to jump off the sidelines, begin your training and run a magnificent race… let me introduce you to your Jockey!