Matt Woodrum is a 11-year-old 5th grader at Colonial Hills Elementary School in Worthington, Ohio. He has spastic cerebral palsy. On May 16, 2012 his school was having a field day. The school allowed Matt to opt out of the 400 meter race despite the incredible challenge of his disability, but Matt refused to sit out and chose to race. Some of his classmates didn't want to run in the race, stating it was too hard. An article by USA Today stated that Matt admitted there were a few times during the race that he was ready to give up, but his friends and favorite gym teacher wouldn't let him. In a Youtube video, you can see how all the kids stopped what they were doing to run alongside Matt and encourage him to finish the race. This video is highly inspiring! It has reached over 900,000 views!
We can all learn a lesson from this special 5th grader. Despite his physical disability, he saw a challenge and went for it. He didn't give up, he wasn't worried about winning the race, coming in first or perhaps not even to prove a point. He did it for himself. I think of the many times in my life when I felt like giving up. Having a bad day, can't seem to ever get ahead... when it rains it pours... Many times I have wished the day away and couldn't wait until it was time to go to bed and sleep my troubles away. But people like Matt inspires us all. The things we take for granted: brushing our teeth, getting dressed, driving a car, typing on a computer, riding a bike or even taking an evening stroll are all challenges Matt faces on a daily basis. So when I'm having a bad day and can't seem to do anything right, there's always someone else out there who won't give up, despite any disability and they take nothing for granted. They live life everyday and seize all that it has to offer.
Maybe Matt wouldn't have finished the race if it wasn't for his friends running alongside him and encouraging him. Sometimes, we all need an earthly Jesus to cheer us on in challenging moments. We all face bad days where nothing seems to go right, but if we pay attention, there will be an earthly Jesus right next to us encouraging us to keep going and not to ever give up!
... And sometimes we need to be an earthly Jesus for someone else....