This man knew a lot about running. Not only was he accustomed to the athletics culture of his day, he considered his whole life a race. When the time of departure from his life drew near, he was confident he had run a good race. His name is Paul, the apostle, the one who wrote these famous words:
“For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.
I have fought a good fight, I have FINISHED my 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” (2 Timothy 4:6-8 KJV)
Striking words from a man full of conviction! “I am NOW ready to leave this world because I have FINISHED my race well!” Paul encountered death many times but each time his stance was the same: “I am not going yet because I still have a race to run!” He faced persecution, stoning, shipwrecks and the like, but kept on running the race marked out for him.
Hear Paul speak:
“However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to FINISH the race and COMPLETE the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.” (Acts 20:24 NIV)
No matter what Paul faced in life, his utmost desire was to FINISH his race well. And when it was time for him to leave, he knew he had FINISHED his divine commission. Oh that we would become a generation of FINISHERS!
There are many who strive to FINISH building their “house in the village” or acquiring the car of their dreams, but are oblivious of the need to FINISH the race heaven set before them. There is nothing wrong in building a house or buying a dream car, but pursuing these at the expense of living out your purpose is vanity. Sadness and regret await the person who can only look back to material achievements at the end of life. Joy unspeakable and a “crown of righteousness” await the one who lives for the benefit of others and the glory of God.
Paul finished HIS course. I must finish MINE, not another person’s. The presence of hurdles and pitfalls on my course is no reason for me to switch routes. Why succeed in another person’s race and abandon my own? What reward is there for coming first in a race that you have not been entered to run? Our race begins from a realisation of purpose, and once we embrace our purpose, we should keep on running to the very end.
Has your race begun yet? Are you on track to FINISH well? Think about these things. I am thinking too.