Tuesday, June 29, 2010

We must run the "good race".

I, Paul, am already being poured out like a libation,
and the time of my departure is at hand.
I have competed well; I have finished the race;
I have kept the faith.
From now on the crown of righteousness awaits me,
which the Lord, the just judge,
will award to me on that day, and not only to me,
but to all who have longed for his appearance.

The Lord stood by me and gave me strength,
so that through me the proclamation might be completed
and all the Gentiles might hear it.
And I was rescued from the lion’s mouth.
The Lord will rescue me from every evil threat
and will bring me safe to his heavenly Kingdom.
To him be glory forever and ever. Amen.
(2 Timothy 4:6-8,17-18)

Paul was writing to Timothy to help him to stay on the right track. He wasn't going to be around much longer and needed to inspire his student to continue to persevere in his faith and his ministry. Paul's head was not on the executioner’s block yet, but his heart was there. He was ready to make the ultimate sacrifice. He considers himself as on the eve of death, and looks upon his blood as the libation which was poured on the sacrificial offering. He must have already had the sentence of death already passed upon him.
Paul had fulfilled his ministry and was ready to receive his reward, and he wanted Timothy to be able to do the same. Preaching the gospel is one of the most rewarding things a person can do, if they are sincerely
devoted to doing this. Paul wanted Timothy to be as inspired by the word of God as he was. He wanted Timothy to see that the reward for staying faithful and "finishing the race" was far greater than any earthly reward.
So it should be for us. We are not going to be executed for our faith (hopefully) or belief in the word of Jesus, however, our life on this world may not be as wonderful as the life of those who choose to ignore their need for God. To talk about God can sometimes make one the object of ridicule. In these days, people don't want to hear about sacrifice and forgiveness. They want to live for the moment, enjoy life's pleasures and not worry about sacrifice, or forgiveness, or compassion, or love.
Paul ran the good race which means he stayed true to his ministry to preach the word of God to everyone he could find to listen.
As Christians, we too, must run our own good race. We must stay faithful to the word of God and the example of Jesus. We must preach Jesus, in any way we are able, by word or example. Just as Paul encouraged Timothy, he also encourages us. Our reward for doing so will be beyond our imagination. Jesus has promised us that.

Peace and love,


"Then Jesus said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me". (Luke 9:23)

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