II TIMOTHY 4:6-8: “For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.”
OBSERVATION: What is the difference between a championship team and simply a contender? This past year I enjoyed watching the 2014 NBA Finals between the Miami Heat and the San Antonio Spurs. It was a match up between one team built around a superstar, and the other built around teamwork and cooperation. The San Antonio Spurs fought their way back from double digit deficits several times, including the last game, to win the series. The difference – they came together as a team and they left it all out there on the court.
What a wonderful picture of what we are to be like in the Church. We are all a part of the Body of Christ, individuals, yet fully connected. We are connected by our relationship to the head, Jesus Christ, and by our calling to fulfill His Great Commission. It is a call to make disciples and to live for the glory of God. It is a call to the entire body, not just the leaders or pastors. It is a call to take all of our gifts, all of our talents, all our lives – and give our all in service to our Lord and King. Paul understood this. As he looked upon the end of his life his one desire was to – “leave everything on the court”!
You don’t have to be at the end of your life to embrace the principle of the “drink offering”. However, as I look forward in my life, and as the years ahead are less than the years behind, I believe I have a greater understanding of what Paul was expressing to Timothy. The Christian life is not a “sprint” – it is a “marathon”. As one runs a marathon they pace themselves for the long 26 miles course. They try to keep a certain pace throughout the race so that they can achieve their goals. Yet, when they can see the finish line in the distance they give it an extra kick. Everything that is left is laid out for this final run. Nothing is held back.
Lord, this is the desire of my heart as I look forward. I am not interested in building any kingdoms but Yours alone. I am not interested in receiving any accolades but praise given to You. I simply want to “leave everything on the court”. I want to finish my race with grace and integrity. And, if You should tarry in Your return – I want to hand off the baton to those who can continue this race in the future. Grant me the grace and strength to finish my course well, to fight the good fight of faith, to give all to You until I hear You say – “Well done thou good and faithful servant, you have been faithful over little, enter now into the joy of your Master.” In Jesus Name!