Long before I was born, a world record was broken in 1954 that forever altered history. While many records may come to mind, the one that I am referring to involves Roger Bannister who dared to push beyond the barriers of impossibilities to become the very first person to run a mile in less than four minutes. He challenged his body and mind to accomplish the very first 4-minute mile. For years, the 4-minute mile was considered not merely unreachable but according to physiologists of the time, dangerous to the health of any athlete who attempted to reach it.
Before breaking the world record, Bannister was running with the 2-year-old memory of disappointment still burning within him. He had expected — and had been expected — to win the 1,500 meters, the metric mile, at the 1952 Olympics. Even the Duke of Edinburgh had timed his visit to Helsinki in order to be there when the final was run. But Bannister was jostled during the race, never got into contention and finished fourth. Only a remarkable performance down the road could erase the disappointment. He achieved it at Iffley. On May 6, 1954, Roger Bannister ran the first sub-4-minute mile in recorded history. The 25-year-old native of Harrow on the Hill, England, completed the distance in 3:59.4 at Oxford. When he crossed the finish line, he broke through a psychological barrier as well.
What was the importance of Bannister’s feat of strength and endurance? If one person could do it, then others could too. Once the door had been opened, once a precedent had been set, it became plausible and possible for others to break through.
The Day of Pentecost accomplished a milestone and a turning point for God’s relationship with children. In reading the Old Testament, we find a few, select occasions where God spoke to children or used them for His purposes. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost marked a new dimension for God’s relationship with children. Peter announced in his message on the Day of Pentecost a new day for God’s visitation upon and His ministry through boys and girls. No longer would His Spirit rest upon a few, select individuals. Upon the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, His Spirit could now enable and equip “you and your children” (Acts ). Now, the door had been opened. The precedent had been established. The promise had been given (Joel ) and fulfilled so that children could boldly speak forth the Word of the Lord. “Your children shall prophesy.” (Acts ).