Olympic games are a great entertaining sport to watch. Anyone who has seen the challenges that take place in them will know, it is very strenuous. There are two most recognizeable parts of the Olympics. The burning Torch and the passing of the baton.
It is a joyous occasion for one runner to pass the baton off to the next runner. But every runner knows that the race isn’t over until you cross the finish line. So why do we try to give up (or just as often, give IN) so much? Hmmm. We can’t pass off the baton that way. In 2 Timothy 4, Paul is “passing the baton” to Timothy. He encourages him by letting him know, no, it wasn’t always easy. “For I am already being poured out like a drink offering…” (2 Tim. 4:6) But he insisted that Timothy keep his eye on the prize. “There is in store for me the crown of righteousness…” (2 Timothy 4:7)
So you might be wondering why there is so much emphasis on holding out. Why? Because our brothers and sisters are desparately in need of being reminded that what this world offers us and any persecution that we face will not last forever. It will end. So we must run hard to ensure that those who we hand the baton to are ready to run the next part.
Have you ever played Ms. Pac-Man? When you find that one of the Pac-man’s are coming for you, you frantically rush to get as many more orbs as you can before time runs out. Should not the Christian be just as enthusiastic about winning souls for Christ? Part of passing the baton off comes with having a confidence in your partner. Runners know that the person they pass the baton to has had all the necessary training and is ready to go forth. When sharing the Gospel with an unbeliever, we must make sure that they understand just what Christ did for them. Knowing Him PERSONALLY and not just as a common household name. But we should also be EQUALLY as energetic about encouraging those already saved for holding out.
“THE RACE ISN’T OVER UNTIL YOU CROSS THE FINISH LINE.”
Encouragement is a significant part of the Christians job too. You see, if we don’t build one another up, we risk falling behind. Paul lets Timothy know this. He says, “At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them.” (2 Timothy 4:16) So we see that Paul taught Timothy but he also encouraged him. A common motto of soldiers in war is, “No man left behind.”
Often times, we get so caught up in getting others to Christ that we may forget that our brothers and sisters need some comfort and prayers and encouragement sometimes too. But we must understand that as Olympians, passing the baton only comes about because we completed our segment of the race. Olympians don’t pass it off because they just gave up. Not because they trained for so many days and weeks and now they just don’t want to do it anymore.
So what about that Torch? The Torch in the Olympics is a never dying torch. It’s light is never supposed to go out. Paul showed Timothy that we must keep the torch burning for Christ! The torch is the light that we have inside of us. It can often times become so dimmed and darkened by our actions that our words have little to no effect. But Paul tells Timothy the light of Christ is a torch worth carrying and this is a race well worth running. And I certainly want to cross the finish line, but what kind of baton will I pass off? Will I pass it off because I quit? Hardly. I want the baton I pass off to be one in which I can look back and say (as Paul in 2 Timothy 4:7) “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…” So stay encouraged!!
TO THE KING!!