lf you were a homeless dog named Arthur, the answer is almost 700km!
It was the 2014 Adventure Racing World Series in Ecuador and the captain of the four-person Swedish team (Mikael Lindnord pictured above) tossed a meatball to a shaggy, malnourished, stray dog.
From that moment, every gruelling task the team faced in the 10-day race, Arthur was there. He trekked through mud and hiked mountains, and when the team launched their kayaks into the Amazon River, Arthur swam out alongside them. Even though the organisers had advised against it, the team made a decision and Arthur sat aboard Mikael's kayak for the next 14 hours.
Finally, the now team-of-five crossed the finish line together. A sore and battered Arthur soon found himself being cared for and on a plane to Sweden. Mikael said, "This dog has been through enough in his life, now begins the fun part for him."
As part of Mikael's family, a healthy, happy Arthur now romps with the kids, joins in charity marathons and snuggles on the couch.
It's a sweet story but it has interesting parallels. Arthur was given a meatball, we have been given an opportunity to accept God's free gift of eternal life.
Arthur wanted a relationship with the generous stranger who met him in his time of need, how much more does Jesus deserve? As the Bible says, "God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Jesus Christ died for us" (see Romans 5:8).
This life may be gruelling at times but its true reward lies in faithful endurance to the end, for: "The troubles we suffer now for a short time are making us ready for the great things God is going to give us forever" (see 2 Corinthians 4:17).
So, what would you be willing to do to gain eternal life? If a meatball is worth a 700km hike to a dog, perhaps we should consider what Jesus' sacrifice is worth to us.•