Philippians 3:12b – But I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. (NIV)
When I was at high school, I was a member of the senior 4 x 100m track relay team. We practised our speed skills for ages, but the most important part of the race was passing the baton. No matter how fast we sprinted, if we didn't manage to pass the baton, our race would be over.
One of our team's athletes, who was due to run the last leg of the race, was very anxious about receiving the baton. He practised and practised until he perfected the pass. Instead of running his full 100m, he ran just enough to secure the baton pass.
On our school sports day, our relay team faced tough competition from other schools in an invitational race. We felt very confident, though, because we were on our home turf. As we sped around the track, our lead over the other teams grew, and when we passed the batons at each relay point, we did it perfectly. On the last leg, we were about 5m in front of the other schools.
Then came a moment that I will never forget. Our last runner slowed down and stopped short of the tape. He was so used to running 75m that he forgot where the finishing line was. The other relay runners whizzed by him, and when he realized his mistake, it was too late. The race was over. We came in last.
As Christians, we need to press onwards and upwards with our faith. We've been handed batons of faith which we're to pass on to the next generation. Our goal is to run the race completely. Half-hearted attempts, missed baton changes, and stopping short of the finishing line do not bring glory to God. We have purposes to fulfil, visions to achieve, and ministries to accomplish. We need to keep focused and finish well.
1 Corinthians 9:24 – Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. (NIV)
Prayer: Lord Jesus, remind us that we are runners in the Great Race. Keep us focused on ending well and finishing all the tasks that You have given us to fulfil. Strengthen and support us; heal and help us; encourage and empower us. In Your holy name we pray. Amen.