Finish the Race
“Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.”
2 Timothy 4:8 (NIV UK)
At 91 years old, Harriet Thompson became the oldest runner to participate in the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon in San Diego, California USA. It was her 15th time running. In 7 hours and 7 minutes, she also became the fastest runner to take part in the 90–94 age bracket. But her story is even more remarkable.
Harriet is a cancer survivor and had completed radiation treatment on her legs just days before the big race. She wasn’t running just for her own pleasure. By participating in these marathons, Thompson helps raise funds for the Leukaemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training.
The Apostle Paul uses running imagery in his second letter to Timothy. Warning his young, faithful brother-in-the-Lord that hardships will come; he encouraged him to continue preaching, teaching and doing the work of an evangelist. Paul writes the following: “For I am already poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:6-7).
Paul knew that life wasn’t just a marathon that had to be endured to the end, but a race to do as much good directing people to Christ and his kingdom as possible. We don’t know how much time we’ve been given or how many trials we’ll face. But we do have responsibility for what we choose to do with the time we’ve been given.
We need to know that as believers we do not run alone. We have the Word to guide us, and we have mentors to counsel us, just as Paul counselled Timothy. We also have the ultimate trainer in Jesus Christ. He is our strength and our joy in good times as well as in hardship and sorrow.
Mighty Father, so often we live, especially in this age, as Christians fighting alone. Our world, even this nation which calls itself ‘Christian’, doesn’t help. And so, please, help us daily to rely on you, your strength and encouragement to endure to our end. In Jesus’ name we pray.
Study by Joseph Tkach
About the Author:
Joseph Tkach is the President of Grace Communion International (the Denominational name of The Worldwide Church of God UK), and resides in California, USA. You are welcome to attend one of our local Church congregations located throughout the UK and Ireland. For details of your nearest local congregation, check on our website, www.gracecom.org.uk under the ‘Churches’ tab, or ring +44 (0)1858 437099.