Running. That was the theme of today’s BYU-Idaho Devotional address. 

Brother Brent Ashcraft, Auxiliary Services business officer at BYU-Idaho, addressed students in his talk “Run Heartily, As to The Lord” in the BYU-Idaho Center in the final devotional of the Fall 2019 semester. 

The name of the address was derived from two New Testament scriptures which inspired Brother Ashcraft while preparing to speak. 

1 Corinthians 9:24 reads, “Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.” The other, Colossians 3:23 says, “And whatsoever ye do, do it aheartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men.” 

Brother Ashcraft, himself an experienced distance runner, combined the two sentiments from Paul to draw on an analogy comparing endurance running to life. 

“To run in a race is to put forth a diligent effort toward an end goal,” Brother Ashcraft said in his address. “In the race of life our ultimate goal is eternal life, and can only be obtained by coming unto Christ.” 

He also spoke about the importance of our thoughts, both as it relates to running and everyday life. If we focus on the right things, then we can feel the right things, he said. 

“Thoughts make us who we are,” he remarked. Then quoting the famed author, he said, “In his book ‘As a Man Thinketh’ James Allen said: ‘A man is literally what he thinks, his character being the complete sum of all his thoughts.’” 

In an interview with BYU-Idaho Radio, Brother Ashcraft expanded upon his conviction of positive thinking and especially of focusing ourselves on Jesus Christ. 

“The important thing is that we keep a vision of where we are going and why we are running,” he said. “Then, we will likely run heartily because we feel we are going to attain something along the way, as well as when we finish.” 

In furthering the running analogy, Brother Ashcraft said we must learn to pace ourselves, just as a runner must do. Not too fast and not too slow, he taught, summoning an ode to Goldilocks’ porridge. 

It’s a contradiction that motivates Ashcraft. He said it’s focusing on the individual day that helps him achieve the long-term and eternal goals. That includes committing himself to the tasks of the day each morning and recording how he did each night on paper. 

Just like a runner does, we must also be aware of our current condition and make the necessary adjustments, Brother Ashcraft said in the interview.  

He also cautioned against comparing ourselves to other people. “Don’t pay too much attention to the runners around you,” he said. 

Overall, Brother Ashcraft encourages a consistent and daily refocusing on the Savior 

“If you don’t meditate on it some and ponder the meaning of life, I think we just lose ourselves in the media and all the things that are around us,” he said. “It’s so easy to just let our thoughts go to whatever is coming in at us, rather than to block those things off for a while and make those decisions for ourselves.”