One of the most grueling of all bicycle races is the Tour De France.
A contestant in that event, Gilbert Duclos-Lassalle, describes it in a National Geographic article entitled, “An Annual Madness?” The race covers about 2000 miles, including some of France’s most difficult, mountainous terrain. Eating and drinking is done on the run. And there are extremes of heat and cold. To train for the event, Lassalle rides his bicycle 22,000 miles a year … 22,000 miles!!
What kind of prize makes people endure so much hardship and pain! $10,000?
$100,000? No. It’s just a special winner’s jersey.
What then motivates the contestants? Lassalle sums it up: “Why, to sweep through the Arc de Triomphe on the last day. To be able to say you finished the Tour de France.”
For participants of the Tour de France, more than receiving the tangible prize at the end of the race, what motivates them to trek through 2,000 miles of some of France’s most difficult terrain is to be able to say that they FINISHED THE RACE.
How much greater is the race believers are called to run!!!
In 2 Timothy, Paul was approaching the end of his race, soon to pass the baton to Timothy, his son in the faith and mentee:
2 Timothy 4:7, ESV
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
To fight the good fight … to finish the race … and to keep the faith. Are we determined to run the race marked out for us with great firmness of purpose and a spirit of resoluteness?
Drew Dyck, author of “Generation Ex-Christian,” remembers attending a “Promise Keepers” rally. One of the speakers stood out to him:
“I don’t know about you guys,” the speaker said. “But I want to run the race so hard that when I reach the end, I fall exhausted into the arms of Jesus.”
After he spoke, the stadium was silent.
In that moment, I think we all felt the same way.
We didn’t want to just hobble through our spiritual journeys.
We wanted to sprint.
When we came to the end, we wanted to collapse into the arms of Jesus.
When we reach the end of our race, will we be able to say that we were determined to give it all we had?
When we cross the finish line and meet our Father in eternity, may He look at us and say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.” (Matthew 25:21)