My brother ran cross country in high school and college. A cross country race takes place in an open place, like a golf course or park, instead of on a track. Therefore, it's possible for a runner to get lost if he's not paying attention to the race markers. It wouldn't matter if you ran 3 miles faster than anyone else if you were running in the wrong direction.
Paul liked to compare life to a race. At the end of his life, in his second letter to Timothy, he said, "I have finished my course." He didn't just mean, "my life is almost done." He meant, "I've run the race God marked out for me before I was born." Because of that, Paul was able to die with hope instead of regret. He was excited about the future, not despondent about the past.
All of us are running a race. If you have gotten off course, wouldn't you like to know it as soon as possible? This Sunday, we'll look at the lives of two major figures in the book of Esther, named Mordecai and Haman. These two men couldn't have been more different. One achieved some earthly success, while the other found eternal glory. It's a fantastic story, with a WOW of an ending, but it's also a wakeup call for each of us...which one of those men are you more like?