Derek Raymond was highly favoured to earn a medal as a runner at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona. Sadly in a race he pulled a hamstring and collapsed in agony well before he could reach the finish line. His father Jim rushed to his son‘s side and helped him rise and finish the race long after the last runner had crossed the finish line. This remarkable story of love and perseverance will stand as one of the greatest moments in Olympic history.
Such stories of heroic perseverance stir our spirits and should inspire us to make finishing well in the race of life a primary objective. But do you aspire to finish well? Have you had any serious thoughts about how you will finish the race of life? If you have not, why not?
Acts 20:24 tells us that Paul had a great concern to finish his life well. He knew his track record to date had been consistently productive, so now, as his work was in the home stretch, he concentrated on keeping up his good ministry until he crossed the finish line.
Reader, you may see yourself a long way from concluding your earthly journey so take from our verses a call to long term consistency. Pray that you will always be following close behind your Good Shepherd. Make sin of any kind a stench, revulsive, disgusting, in your sight. Be jealous for daily prayer times and Bible reading. Fellowship with the saints weekly. Memorize Scripture. Read biographies of great Christian missionaries. As soon as an evil thought enters your mind reject it.
For senior citizens like myself, this is no time to rest on our laurels! We need to press on with all our might. We have experiences to guide us, we have formed strong friendships with godly people who can come alongside us to encourage us and help us through challenging situations. We are well equipped to finish well.
If an Olympian runner can fight through his pain and lean on his father to cross the finish line we have a greater race to run, a glorious finish line to cross, a sovereign, loving Father in heaven to lean on, so our resources are infinite. Keep your eye focused on the goal. Look often in the Gospels at the example of our Beloved Master and run with perseverance the race before us so that we will finish well.
I’ve wrestled on towards Heaven,
‘Ganst storm, and wind, and tide;—
Now, like a weary traveler,
That leaneth on his guide,
Amid the shades of evening,
While sinks life’s ling’ring sand,
I hail the glory dawning
From Immanuel’s land.