Just Like Jesus – Passing The Baton
This past Thursday evening, Pastor Ed was wrapping up the current weekend sermon. He reflected on a time when Pastor Bill Wilson spoke of taking risks for Jesus to spread the Gospel. Pastor Bill waved a blue aluminum baton before the gathering asking if anyone would accept the baton and carry it on in the race of spiritual life. No one stood up and took the baton. As Bill sat down next to Ed, he handed the baton to Ed and Ed took it in his hands. The same baton was waved before us this weekend with Pastor Ed asking who would take the baton. I was afraid he was going to hand it to me.
I have been thinking a lot about that blue aluminum baton. A number of meaningful and symbolic analogies have filled my mind. The Apostle Paul writes in 2 Timothy 4:7, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith.” Paul took the baton in a marathon race to spread the Gospel truth of Jesus Christ. This reminds me that as a Christ-follower my life-journey is a marathon race in contrast to a sprint. I carry the baton of Jesus Christ my whole life here on Earth, day in and day out. Just as Ed says he will not give away his baton, this precious marker of his faith, we cannot separate ourselves from the love of Jesus Christ. I will hold to Him and finish the course.
The baton also reminds me that in track and field there a number of relay races with different distances and characteristics such as high hurdles. In our journey with Christ we are called upon to participate in a variety of endeavors for Him. The duration, type, requirements and difficulty all vary. I think we should try many things in and out of our comfort zones. A good place to learn what may be your “best distance” is in the GateWay Discover seminar going on right now on Sunday evenings.
An important analogy for me and I think all of us is we are not on this journey alone. We are part of a relay team that began thousands of years ago. Another aspect of this is we are on team today surrounded by fellow Christ-followers that God has brought into our lives. A GateWay Connect Small Group is a great place to run the race of life. Sharing burdens and passing joy is what we do.
Although not the last analogy it is the challenging one. I am faced with the fact that when I am passed the baton, I must run my leg of the race. No one else can run it for me. My faith journey is not alone yet it is intensely personal. I have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. I do not get carried along by someone else’s personal relationship with Him. I must individually accept His gift of grace and mercy. I must receive the baton into my hand and in doing so all what it means to be a Christ-follower then flow. This is the rub; am I willing to risk my preference for His will and His glory? Am I committed to laying down control of my life and being directed by the Holy Spirit? Am I willing to wash feet as Jesus did with His disciples?
I do not know where He will direct you. Again this is intensely personal. Maybe He is asking you to walk down the row at Sunday Service and warmly engage a new person in relationship. Maybe He is asking you to walk down the street and help a child read at Conyer School. Maybe He is calling you to go across town and help feed hungry people alongside Visalia Emergency Aid. Maybe He is asking you to walk on a jet plane and go quench the thirst of a family in Guatemala with our Living Waters Team. Maybe it is as simple, not easy, as forgiving and letting go of a hurt with a loved one. Whatever it may be, I know I have been handed the baton. I pray I will have fought the good fight, finished the course and kept the faith.