Finish Life’s Race

Recently, after contemplating a death in my family, I sent the following thoughts to my cousins:

With the “graduation” of Aunt Jean to heaven, I have been thinking about her, each of you, and what her home-going means to our family. Here is the metaphor that comes to mind. If you have watched or participated in a relay race, one of the key aspects of the race is the passing of the baton to the next runner who is responsible for continuing to run the race toward the finish line. Aunt Jean’s death is the passing of the baton for the Boyd family in that she is the last of the generation that has been running before us. Her death has broken our hearts, and we need to and should grieve, but let us not do so without hope and awareness. The unfailing faith in Jesus, the Christian values, the commitment to the local church, the demonstration of the love of Christ for and to all people, etc. that has been taught and modeled before us by the prior generation has served to coach us for our turn carrying the family’s faith baton toward the final goal of eternity with Jesus in His Kingdom. The questions before us now are these. Will each of us grasp the baton and faithfully run our segment of the race well? Will we continue the legacy of those who love Jesus? Will we faithfully engage in the ministry of a local church, despite the fact that the church is made up of imperfect people just like us? Will our daily words, attitudes, and actions demonstrate the love of Jesus to those around us regardless of who they are, where they come from, how they act, etc.? Will our children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren see the faith and love of Christ modeled in us as we have seen in the generation before us? This is not a time for excuses or slacking from opportunity. Let us love like never before: Jesus, His church, family, and others around us and around the globe. Let us serve each other and others, not because we have to, but because we get to. Let us give of ourselves as never before. Let us conduct ourselves as genuine followers of Jesus, even though we will stumble and fail at times. Again the race is now ours to run. The baton has been passed to each of us and it will take each of us to successfully complete the race. Together, we can take the baton and run the race! Let’s do it with diligence, love, faith in Christ, humility, grace, forgiveness, and determination! The greatest family reunion is now in progress, and the greatest pep rally ever is ongoing in Heaven’s grandstand as Jesus and those who have gone before cheer us onward to live out the legacy of Christ that has been entrusted to us! It’s our time to run!

CGPS family, each of us is involved in life’s relay race at some stage and setting, whether the relay-race metaphor is framed within the context of family, ministry, vocation, or education. For some, you are nearing the place of passing the baton to the next runner. For others, your time to carry the baton is nearing. That is why the attention you and I give to preparation is so important. Success or failure is determined by how well one prepares for his/her time of carrying the baton.

The writer of Hebrews, in offering encouragement for our preparation in life’s race, has written, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith…” (Hebrews 12:1-2, NIV). While we are not racing against each other, we are running with each other at some stage in the race. Together, let’s fix our eyes on Jesus, pray for and encourage each other, set aside anything that hinders our progress, and let’s finish life’s race well!

Written by Mark Boyd, Assistant Director of Online Learning