If you’ve ever been in a race, you know the importance of the Finish Line.
If it’s a sprint, then you can see it from the start. If it’s a distance race, you have to visualize it in your mind for most of the race…until the very end.
In either case, it’s important that you keep that Finish Line in sight. You have to ‘run through the tape’–you have to finish strong! (In some races, there is literally a piece of tape or string at the Finish Line which must be broken to determine who actually wins.) Many people have led the race with just a few yards to go, but have looked around, or slowed ever so slightly, and been overtaken by a competitor–one who was ‘running through the tape’.
Well, I’ve never been fast enough to compete in any form of sprint, but one thing I have done the last few years is run the Kalamazoo Mud Run. It’s a 5k trail and obstacle race in which (you guessed it), we get muddy. It’s a challenging and fun race, but it is crucial–even in a 5K (3.1 miles) to keep the end in mind…to visualize the Finish Line and to run through the tape.
‘This is all well and good’, you might be saying, ‘but I’m not a runner, and I don’t care about races…so why should I read further?’
Because life is like a race...and you have to ‘run through the tape’.
As we’re running the ‘race’ of life, we need to determine what it actually means–for us–to ‘finish strong’. Each of us has a life that is filled with activities. Some are important and significant; others are, quite frankly, a waste of time. Some are even destructive–to us or other around us.
So, what is the race you’re running?
The Apostle Paul had a life that was all about a Grand Purpose–in his case, to bear witness to Jesus, the risen Lord and Savior. He knew that’s what he was about, and he used every breath he had to share that message.
He wrote, “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.” (1 Corinthians 9:24)
Later, as his life was nearing its end, he wrote,
“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…I declare to you today that I am innocent of the blood of any of you. For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God.” (Acts 20:24-27)
Paul was all about the message about Jesus, and he ‘ran the race’ with that in mind! His ‘Finish Line’ was to proclaim that message faithfully, consistently, and continually…because he knew that this is the only message that pays eternal dividends!
Later, at the end, he could say this: “I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 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 4:6-8)
Paul knew the right ‘race’ to be involved with, and he gave himself to it every day.
As I consider my own ‘race’, I know there are a lot of things–many of which are legit–to concern myself with. I know, for example, that part of my ‘race’ is my marriage and family–and I want to be the best husband and father I can be. I know my work at Kalamazoo Community Church, and I want to lead it faithfully.
However, I also know, like Paul did, that all of us who are Believers in Jesus Christ have the privilege and opportunity to share the Eternal Message of Jesus…and that is the race that is worth running!
If you’re a Believer, let me encourage you: Run that race! Finish strong!
RUN THROUGH THE TAPE!