It is a beautiful thing to watch, music in motion as the runner comes around the bend with baton in hand, readies for the exchange with his teammate running the next leg of the race and successfully passes the baton firmly and confidently. When it goes well, it is beautiful. When it does not, it is ugly.
Life is a relay – when it is run well, it is beautiful; when it is not, the clank of batons is heard throughout society:
- Running well requires training to get the most out of the body. Absolute focus on technique while staying true to the running lane and keeping a firm grip on the baton is key. Susceptibility to distraction can result in disqualification. In life, ‘technique’ is the sum of life experiences; the ‘lane’ represents boundaries established by the Word of God and authorities in this world; and the ‘baton’ represents who you are and Whose you are.
- Passing the baton well requires seeing the target clearly, being in stride with your teammate and executing the exchange firmly and confidently. Absolute focus is critical in order to stay in the lane, execute the exchange within the 20-meter box and then let go. In life, to ‘stay in the lane’ is living by example, to practice spiritual disciplines and reflect Christ-likeness; to ‘execute the exchange’ is a personal relationship that opens the door for another to know Jesus the Christ; to ‘let go’ is to let the Holy Spirit do what He does. It does not work to hold onto the baton for another lap until you are sure your teammate, or child has it. God is in control.
- Cheering on is all that is left. Each runner has given his all on his leg of the race, cheered the next runner on and then all on the relay team typically converge at the finish line to celebrate. In life, we give our ‘all’ by accepting life experiences, calibrating them to the Word of God and living in a way that glorifies the Father; we ‘cheer’ the next generation on by being available and encouraging them on the journey; and we will all meet at the ‘finish line’ to receive the crown that lasts forever.
Do you not know that in a race all runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that lasts forever. – 1 Corinthians 9:25. The “crown that will not last” represents worldly accolades – medals, trophies, promotions and other means of individual recognition. All who compete in this world indeed go into “strict training” in sport, the job or career to be successful. Paul does not suggest that is a bad thing. In fact, he says, “Run in such a way as to get the prize.” The key is to keep the focus on the right prize, “the crown that lasts forever.”
Prayer guide: Lord, thank You for the opportunity to run this race called life. When Oswald Chambers said, “The fiery furnaces are there by Your direct permission and that it is misleading to imagine we are developed in spite of our circumstances; we are developed because of them”, my life experiences took on a new perspective. Guide me as I run the race well You have for me with the baton You are forging. Grant me strength to pass the baton successfully to the next generation with confidence to let go and let You be God in their lives. Amen.
A faithful father runs well and passes the baton confidently to the next generation.