Just before being put to death in 67 AD for a deep commitment to faith in Jesus Christ and to the preaching of His name, a man named Paul wrote a letter to his close friend Timothy. You can find this letter in the Bible’s New Testament. It was his second letter to Timothy and so it has been appropriately named 2 Timothy. Toward the end of this letter Paul reveals that he has some sort of awareness that his life is soon coming to an end. Paul writes, “As for me, my life has already been poured out as an offering to God. My time of death is near.” (2 Timothy 4:6 NLT). Then he goes on to make a very interesting comparison of his life when he says, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful.” (2 Timothy 4:7 NLT)
Paul likened life to running a race. It is a very interesting way to describe it, don’t you think?
There was a time when we were born. That would be like the gun shot at the beginning of races. Then, we are off. We grow, we learn, we laugh, we cry, we choose…
And on-and-on we run laps around life’s race track. Until, one day, we cross the finish line. That is to say, we pass on from this life to the next.
Paul knew his finish line was close. He had become very aware that he was about finish his race.
We each have our own race of life that we are running. We take laps around this track the very best that we can. There are hurdles and there are twisted ankles. There are moments when we feel like we are almost being carries along without having to put in much effort and there are other moments when we are barely crawling around this track because we have been beat down.
Some laps are amazing.
Some laps are awful.
One thing is for sure, if we were to run this same race carrying with us a backpack full of bricks, it would make our race so much more difficult.
I sometimes wonder if we are each carrying a bag of bricks without realizing it?
Regret. UnForgiveness. Bitterness. Hate. Fear. Pride. Sin.
Each a brick, an extra weight, that is holding us back while running this race of life. Each brick slowing us down and wearing us down. Each brick draining our life and our joy and our peace.
Today, I pray that we hear the writer of Hebrews when they say, “let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith…” (Hebrews 12:1-2 NKJV)