Scripture Reading: Acts 20:1-24
“But my life is worth nothing unless I use it for doing the work assigned to me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the good news about God’s wonderful kindness and love. (Acts 20:24 NLT)
It takes determination, dedication, and commitment to run a marathon. My daughter took up the sport of running, and trained for months in preparation for a marathon race in Olathe, Kansas. It was a cool November morning as we waited at the starting line for the beginning of the race. We met her at the twenty mile mark and urged her to continue. I told her, “We’ll be waiting for you at the finish line.” My wife and I waited anxiously for the first sight of her coming down the home stretch. We shouted with joy as she crossed the line and received a medal for her effort. Afterward we asked her how it went, “She said, the first half of the race went well, but the last half was a grueling battle between mind and body. The last six miles, when the legs begin to cramp and the body threatens to shut down, were the worst.” What an achievement!
A runner has one goal in mind—the finish line. In a hundred yard dash, one quick glance back at an opponent can mean the difference between first and fourth place. This is why coaches emphasize over and over—keep your eye on the tape at the finish line. Only one person can win the gold medal—the victor.
The Apostle Paul made it his life’s goal to tell everyone the good news that Jesus came to save them from their sins. He feared that if he looked back or turned aside he’d become a castaway. Nothing could deter him from his assigned mission. No amount of beatings, prison cells, shipwrecks, or trials could cause him to lose his focus. The finish line was always in view.
Why is it that in the race of life we are so easily distracted and lose our focus on the person who has called us to spread the good news? If we have divided loyalties between serving Jesus and self-interests, those self-interests will surely cause us to lose the race.
We see this in the life of the wealthiest, wisest, and most powerful king who ever lived—Solomon. Twice God visited him and blessed him more than any other man in Israel’s history. In his later life, Solomon allowed his foreign wives to turn his affections away from the true God to other false gods. He lost his focus and failed to keep his eyes fastened on God’s finish line.
The key to success in winning the race of life is—commitment. What is your level of commitment? Are you prepared for a marathon? Begin your training today by exercising in the word of God. The Bible is our training manual, and it’s precepts worth mastering.
Prayer: Dear Lord, help me to endure and keep my eyes focused on the finish line.