Racing to the Finish

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” “Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.” 2 Timothy 4:7; Hebrews 12:1-3

My husband and I recently participated in a paddleboard race, and anticipating maneuvering alongside others, at least early on in a restricted area, I reminded myself that my motive was to enjoy the ride, not come in first. As we prepared to launch, I noticed the other (all younger) paddlers, wearing elaborate gear, were on “racing boards,” some even equipped with timers, and I realized they had a very different motive than I: to WIN. It was a beautiful, warm morning, and we dug hard through the sun-dappled bay rippled with breeze and edged with colorful boats and eager locals who had come to cheer us on. As we made the final turn, my husband urged me to push to the end, and although it is hard to’ sprint’ on a wide board in perky water, my tired arms kept on, the welcome staff at the beach in sight. It is exhilarating, even if exhausting, to race to the finish.

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I see the Christian life not so much as a race against others as that toward the finish, perhaps the completion of one service or the closing of a season, but ultimately the day when we will be greeted by our Savior. Pushing hard for a pace can be good, stretching us to press on and work wholeheartedly, without letting up. We often expend ourselves to go farther and more efficiently with others around us heading in the same direction. In all the effort, there is joy in the journey; along the way God has many and varied treasures in store- measures of strength, delightful discoveries, newfound insights- that are ours for the receiving and enjoying if we keep our eyes open, our cadence constant. And finishing well, at any assignment or task, especially alongside someone we love, brings great satisfaction.

Whatever race before me, specific duty or lifelong pursuit, how consistent am I in fighting the good fight, keeping the faith? When I flag in zeal, faint in heart, or lose sight of the joy set before me, will I look to Jesus, the One Who has called me to this faith-life and is writing my story? He has determined the finish line and awaits with glory.

Lord, with all my breath and energy and focus, in the days and years You have given, may I run, serve, and love with perseverance, may I worship with all I have, to Your praise and glory. All crowns are Yours.

 

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