The part that was most interesting to me wasn't the start of the races though, but the end. In the interest of winning, the boys kept changing the finish line. When one would reach the end of the driveway and declare himself the champion, the other would go flying past...insisting that they were really racing to the grass or the tree or the rock. Neither one wanted to accept the idea that he was slower than the other, so he moved the line.
It's really not much different once we grow up. Because we want to feel like we've won, we tend to set our own personal "finish lines" just past where those around us happen to be. We watch soap operas to make us feel like our family is winning relationally. We buy a bigger TV or a newer car than our neighbors to make us feel like we're winning financially. We go to church more often than our coworkers to make us feel like we're winning spiritually.
The problem is that faith doesn't have a finish line...at least not in the traditional sense. Death, I suppose, is a finish line of sorts...but it certainly doesn't matter who gets there first, or with the most stuff, or with the happiest family, or with the most consistent church attendance. Eternity is a pass/fail, all-or-nothing thing, not a free market system full of hierarchies and gradients and nuances. There is no #1 or "best in class" or grading on a curve.
We live in a culture where bad businesses fail and good ones succeed. Where people who work hard move up and people who don't suffer the consequences. God's kingdom, however, isn't set up that way. Romans 10:12-13 says, "For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."
Salvation isn't the end. It's actually a beginning. It's the starting point of a race that isn't possible to win...simply to run. And in this race, God determines the finish line - not us.