2 Timothy 4:6-8 – For now I am ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day; and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing. (KJV)

The highest rank a boy can achieve in Scouting (in the United States) is that of Eagle and it is estimated that less than 4{8395b6ce96fcf25a14d80edc3b65c36a8995b6c1ba5f8c16ac11d8adaa79f35b} of all the boys who start in Scouting will become Eagle Scouts. In order to become an Eagle Scout, a boy must first advance through the ranks from Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, Star and Life by mastering a number of Scouting-related skills, earning at least 21 merit badges, serving as a leader in his Troop and doing a major service project. None of these requirements is particularly difficult by itself. It is rather the combination of them and the time required to work through them that present the challenge. It is all too easy to become discouraged at the thought of having to earn all of the merit badges required; to succumb to peer pressure which says Scouts isn't cool; or to be distracted by other interests (especially girls and cars as they get older).

In talking with boys in my son's Scout Troop (both Eagle and other ranks), the major accomplishment they associate with becoming an Eagle Scout is the sense of having finished a task that very few attempt and even fewer actually complete; of having finished the course, as Paul said in his letter to Timothy. Certain merit badges may require more work than others; being a leader can be an exercise in patience and frustration at times; but the real challenge is in simply sticking with it throughout the years to the very end.

Making Eagle Scout, like so much of Scouting, is a smaller reflection of our larger faith journey throughout life. The reward comes to those who continue the journey to the end; who resist the temptations and distractions along the way and do not let themselves be discouraged by what appears to be a distant and unattainable goal. As we are confronted by life's disappointments, temptations, and challenges, we know that they need not prevent us from reaching our goal. If we simply keep our faith in the Lord and stay the course, we too, like an Eagle Scout, will ultimately claim our reward.

Prayer: Gracious Lord, grant us the strength to persevere and remain faithful, in spite of the temptations and difficulties that we encounter each day, so that we too may finish the course and claim our reward. Amen.

About the author:

David Gellatly <gellatly@optonline.net>
South Orange, New Jersey, USA

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