Acts 20:24 (NIV)
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.
A decade ago, a magazine carried a story about one man's amazing persistence. The nations of the world had gathered for the Olympic Games. Athletes from around the globe had trained for years to compete in the games, and finally, the time had arrived.
The Marathon, while not always exciting to watch, is surely the most severe Olympic test of human endurance. Many runners trained extensively to compete. The race began, and eventually, the winner came running back into the Olympic Stadium, welcomed by cheers from the appreciative fans. Soon other runners arrived as well, and eventually, the race was over. Over, that is, except for one runner.
A single, lone runner was still out on the course. Other track events continued in the stadium, and an hour passed. Then two. Finally several hours later, the final runner, an athlete from Tanzania, entered the stadium. His pace was slow. His steps were wobbly. His knee was bloody and bandaged from a fall earlier in the race. He looked absolutely terrible, but as he entered the stadium, the fans realized who he was and what he was doing, and they began to cheer. As he made his way around the track and finally, painfully, across the finish line, the cheers swelled as the fans saluted the man’s determination.
Later, after the race, the runner was asked why, even though he had lost the race by several hours, he had continued running. His answer was simple: “My country did not send me 7000 miles away to start the race. They sent me 7000 miles to finish it.”
Paul said that a crown of life awaits each of us who finishes the race. But finishing is much harder than starting. Finishing means running day in and day out. Finishing means training and self-denial and staying focused on the goal.
God has not put you here to start. God has put you here to finish. Keep running the good race.
Are you finishing the race?
Dear Lord, we pray that You will give us the endurance to not only start the race but to finish the race. Help us do our best for You today. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.