“PACK RIDING” – June 9

June 9, 2013

“All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful.  “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up.  Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor.”  1 Corinthians 10:23-24

981002_10201434224324276_965735367_oYesterday, I completed my first century bicycle ride, the Bob LeBow Bike Tour.  I had two different experiences on this ride.  I rode in a group for the first 60 miles and finished the last 45 miles on my own.  Riding in a group is better.

When we started the ride in the morning, we had a head wind.  It was the sort of wind that deafens your ears and steals any conversation from among the riders.  A head wind forces you to push into the pedals without a respite.  This head wind was not an encouraging sign for someone like me who was concerned about the energy requirements of a ride with a distance I have never known.

Fortunately, I fell in with a pack of riders.  Actually, they caught me.  They were riding faster than I had intended to ride.  However, the sweet relief that came as I was enveloped by this group gave me a huge incentive to cling within them.  We had a group of about 10-15 riders.  This amount of riders provides an intoxicating buffer from the wind.  The riders at the front have to work hard to break the wind but those in the back get the benefit of being pulled along.  They say that by riding in a group you can save as much as 20% of  your energy.  I believe it and I loved it.  I did all that I could to stay with this group.

The best way for a group like ours to maintain a strong pace is for everyone to take a turn at the front of the pack.  This keeps everyone as fresh as possible.  It allows the stronger riders a chance to rest without the group as a whole slowing down.  There is no benefit to riding in a pack if the riders are seeking their own good and not willing to work together.

Therefore, I took my turn at the front on a couple of occasions.  I tucked down onto my aero-bars and pushed into the wind and worked to maintain a consistent pace.  I could see the shadows of the other riders just off my back wheel as they caught my streamline.  As I tired, a rider from the back would come alongside with the pack forming around them and I would slip back into the groups streamline and get my chance to recover.

This works wonderfully well as long as the leader is setting a pace that the pack is willing to match.  I took the lead on one occasion and pressed into the wind.  I thought that I was doing a good job until I noticed that there were no shadows shadowing me.  I listened and heard only the hum of my own chain and tires.  When I glanced back, I realized that I had dropped the group.  That is not what I had intended.  I knew that I was going to need that group to make the whole ride.  I wanted that group for the rest that lay within it.  It was only a matter of time before they would catch me once again, anyways.  There was no purpose to dropping them.

Dropping them had proven to be a waste of energy.  I was disappointed in the fact that I had been working hard and no other rider had benefited from the effort.  That was not the way it was supposed to work.  The group as a whole had expended more energy because I had set a pace that was beyond what the other riders were willing to follow.  So, I slowed my paced and let them envelop me once again.  I knew that my good lay within the good of those other riders.

This experience made me think of how we, Christians, are supposed to live together.  I often hear a brother or sister in Christ lamenting about the Church or other believers.  They have a sense of being stifled by what they call the traditional church.  They feel as if their freedoms in Christ are being stolen by the judgmentalism of those within Christian circles.

The story is often the same.  They end up pulling away and isolating themselves from other believers.  They pursue their freedoms in Christ for their own good, mostly on their own.  We can pursue the freedoms we have in Christ in a manner that builds up no one else.  We can pursue our faith in a manner that is of no benefit to our neighbor.

We can work hard in our faith just like when I was riding ahead of the pack but to what avail?  We should want our faith to build up others.  We should want our strength to be providing a respite for others and pulling them along.  We should be seeking not only our own good, but the good of our neighbors.

We as the body of Christ will go to greater depths and be more relevant and effective if we are working together.  We can be used in amazing ways when we are willing to work for the good of others.  Ultimately, God is glorified when we are willing to sacrifice some of our freedoms in Christ for the well being and good of our fellow heirs with Christ.

Are you willing to take your turn and pull your neighbor along for their good and without thinking about your own good?

PRAYER: Lord, thank you for your Church and my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.  Forgive me for allowing myself to be frustrated by them.  Forgive me for so often thinking about my self first and my neighbor second.  Father, help me to use my strengths that are a gift from you in a way that is good for others.  I want to be building up.  Lord, keep me from working in a manner that tears down or is the avail of no one else.  Help me to use the freedoms that you have given me in Christ in the most useful ways, even if that means sacrificing them for the good of my weaker brothers and sisters.  Help me to live to your glory.   I pray this in the precious name of your Son, Jesus Christ.   Amen.

Note: I am the rider in the center of the photograph with the shirt sleeve that is black on top and red below. Just a little proof that I was there.


  1. […] into cub members.  I rode with many them at several of the events that I have blogged about ( PACK RIDING, CLIMBING METHODS).  The conversations at these interactions always ended with the same […]

  2. This happens too in the natural world – geese take it in turns to be the lead goose in their flying ‘V’ formation.

  3. Thanks JD. I like the idea of team members taking turns leading; it’s a good experience for everyone to have. Btw, your blog dates come up as April, instead of June 🙂

  4. The story of your century bike ride makes clear your point: “We should want our faith to build up others. We should want our strength to be providing a respite for others and pulling them along. We should be seeking not only our own good, but the good of our neighbors.” As I read these sentences, I felt my spirit responding, wanting to add “AMEN!” That’s the person I want to be. You’ve inspired me, JD! Thank you.

  5. Great analogy on church body life!

  6. Great article!!!!!!!!!

  7. Thank you for this awesome post! I would like to use one of your comments as a quote for my blog this month. You are a gifted writer and truly know the heart of Jesus. May you continue to be blessed in your walk with the LORD!

  8. Reblogged this on Carol's Comments and commented:
    On occasion I am going to “reblog.” I love to read JD Blom. He makes sense to me, and I love his analogies. Thanks, JD, for your faith and your blogging skills.

  9. This is so inspiring and powerful and something that I am trying to apply to my own journey of faith. I am one who tends to isolate myself from others anyway so this is especially important for me to be aware of at all times. In fact, I just prayed this prayer that you posted. Thank you 🙂

  10. Great analogy for teamwork. We accomplish so much more when we work together and it takes less effort. Thanks for a great post!

  11. I always look forward to what you have to say, JD. This nifty piece today has the distinction of outing the judgmental, without destroying them. This “hate sin, love the sinner” approach is what much of the church is lacking today.
    Thanks for another good read!

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