Running for 12 hours on a treadmill isn’t exactly at the top of everyone’s goal list. For most people running for 30 minutes at all is a major undertaking, but not for David Staley. When Staley’s friend set the record for the greatest distance run on a treadmill in 12 hours, Staley set out to top him. Since he was already a pretty accomplished runner, all it took was a five-hour and seven-hour practice session before he felt confident he could do it. After twelve grueling hours, David ran a crazy 81.62 miles, beating the previous world record by over a mile.
After the record was set, a discussion took place about what it took for Staley to accomplish this impressive task. Frank B. Wyatt, professor in the department of athletic training and exercise physiology at Midwestern State University, had one of the most intriguing comments. He said, “The average person cannot do this, but every elite athlete was ‘average’ at one time” (Yahoo).
A person doesn’t go from average to elite overnight. It takes serious work and dedication. For Staley, he didn’t go from a couch potato to a world record holder in a few days or even weeks. He had to put in years of serious training and effort to reach this level. He also needed a lot of psychological strength. During the run, David talked about a “pain cave” he retreated in his mind while running. This psychological strength allowed him to make it the whole 12 hours.
No matter the field or the accomplishment, it takes great dedication, practice, and mental strength to become elite. Have you ever wondered how Jesus was able to know Scripture so well and push through the trials He endured? Have you ever wondered how Paul was able to become such an incredible evangelist? The reason the champions of the Bible were so great was because they worked hard and they practiced these qualities daily.
When Moses died, Joshua felt insignificant to follow in his footsteps. We might even say that Joshua felt very average. Then God told him how to have spiritual success. God said, “Only be strong and very courageous; be careful to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you may have success wherever you go. This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success” (Joshua 1:7-8).
All great people started out average. They had to work and practice to become elite. The same is true for us today. Becoming closer to God is going to take work and dedication. Knowing our Bibles and studying consistently is going to take practice and mental endurance. Becoming a great evangelist is going to take effort and courage. We all have the ability to become spiritually great if we will follow God’s advice to Joshua. Let’s dedicate ourselves to the study of Scripture and live it in our lives, never turning away from those Holy Words.