I remember when I was younger, our church used to do a Father Son Canoe Trip. And for most of the guys it was just a time to bond with their sons, and turn over each other's canoes, and float leisurely down the river.
But for others of us it was a race. We wanted to see how fast we could go, how many canoes we could pass, and how quickly we could get to the end.
And yet I remember as we jockeyed for position and tried to pass other canoes, which position do you think we really tried to get in? It wasn't first. We wanted to be second. Why? Because you could watch the canoe in front of you and learn from their mistakes. Did they take the fast channel? Or did they get hung up on rocks?
In racing, drivers will often follow each other nose to tail in what's called "drafting." So there's less air displacement drag. This is why Canada geese fly in a "V" formation-to reduce wind resistance.
In the same way, in the Christian race as we press toward the finish line, we have teammates running with us, some who are running in front of us, and some who have gone way before us. And we need to follow their godly examples.