I Finished the Race!

Run the race with patienceI finished the marathon… 26.2 grueling miles on a challenging terrain! I certainly didn’t come in first (but on the other hand I wasn’t last either!). But I FINISHED (and I ran all the way)! I was proud of that! I had done my best! I had prepared with serious and ample training. Over the previous months I had hardened my legs to the road with many miles! I had followed the instructions of my trainer, an ol’ army sergeant, who had many marathons under his belt…

Did I mention I finished? Did I get a trophy for first place among all the runners? … No way! But I got “MY TROPHY!” …A medal to put around my neck that declared I had “finished the race!” So I hung around awhile after the race was over until they gave me “MY TROPHY” … I still have it – the “medal!” First marathon! It means a lot to me (I’ve finished several marathons since then) but that one’s special!

Thought of that as I read these words from Apostle Paul as he approached the end of his life and ministry…

“As for me, my life has already been poured out as an offering to God. The time of my death is near. I have fought the good fight, I HAVE FINISHED THE RACE [some versions read “the course” – really better for the marathon imagery], AND I HAVE REMAINED FAITHFUL! AND NOW THE PRIZE AWAITS ME!—the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on the day of his return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to his appearing.” (From 2 Timothy 4:6–8 NLT)

Hey, it’s not enough to start well! In a very real way the Christian life is NOT a sprint – it’s a marathon! I want to “finish my ‘course’ – I want to keep the faith!” I want “the crown of righteousness” and His “well done, good and faithful servant!” more than anything! My objective? “Finishing the race!”

Here’s a Bartel truism that relates to my running… “I’m not fast – just stubborn!”

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