The other day, I was killing time at home by watching TV and decided to watch an old episode of "The Office" (aren't they all old?!?). This episode was where the characters got together to run a 5K race for charity. As they all lined up at the starting line, the Official shouts "Runners take your mark, Get ready..." and then fires a REAL gun.
I'm glad they didn't do that this past Saturday at Holloway Park in Lakeland - I would've had to duck and run for cover! We went to support our son, Caleb, who was running his last competitive race in college. Most of you know that, two years ago, he broke his hip in a race. We didn't know if he would walk properly again, let alone run (and we certainly never thought he would run again)! What a thrill it was to watch him chug up that hill and then hug him at the finish line! I wonder what kinds of memories were going through his mind as he did that?!? If you ask him, he wasn't focus on the pain he went through and all of those tough days where he thought about giving up. Instead, he would tell you how glad he was that he kept going...and how amazing it was to have people cheering him on at the end.
All of this has me wondering what was going through Paul's mind as neared the end of his "race." He went through all kinds of experiences to get there, and now he was nearing the end. At the end of 2 Timothy, he wrote to this young pastor and said these final words:
"For I am already being poured our 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)
As I think about these words, I wonder how much they line up with what you and I pray for. Do we have the heart of a Paul, with a singular focus of finishing well?!? Or, do we just want God to bless what we are doing and get us out of this mess we are in?!? Whenever the Lord chooses to call us Home, how are we using our time that we have down here to change who else goes Up There?!?