Every high school football practice for me involved 10-yard sprints, and every pre-game warmup included them. Needless to say, I don’t miss this exercise. For the coach, the two most important elements of the sprint were: to get an explosive start and to sprint all the way through the finish line.
If I struggled with an explosive start, it would result in coaching for better technique. If I failed to sprint through the finish line, it would result in correction because that was viewed as laziness. It was critical for me not to let up the intensity until after I crossed the finish line.
This makes sense in sports, but what about in life? It is easy to reach a point in life where we turn on the proverbial cruise control and relax. This may come when we have achieved the level of success on the corporate ladder that we desired. This may come in the latter years of life when we see retirement on the horizon. Or, this may come during the second semester of our senior year of high school when we are so over the day-to-day of school. While tempting, this is a dangerous position to be in.
Beyond the impact of slowing down on education and career success, when we turn our attention to the biblical mandate to make disciples and follow hard after Jesus, we must recognize it is never acceptable to slow or retire. Paul illustrated this by his own example.
In Acts 20:13-38, Paul offers some counsel to the elders of Ephesus. He desires to encourage and motivate these pastors in their pursuit of the Gospel. Specifically, verse 24 describes Paul’s commitment to finish his course.
The language of running a race is often used by Paul. Maybe he played high school football too (I’m only kidding). He was at least interested in sports, though. 2 Timothy 4:7 is another reference by Paul to finish the race. Essentially, he is communicating the importance of sprinting through the finish line.
For us as believers, the urgency of the Gospel, the reality of eternity, and the call to obey God should push us to resist the temptation to cruise or coast. Rather, our intensity to make disciples should grow over time.
Today, I encourage you to assess your urgency for making disciples. I challenge you to carry on Gospel conversations and courageously proclaim the truth of the Gospel. The world needs to hear of the grace, peace, hope, and purpose of life that can only be found in Christ. Will you sprint?
1 The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Ac 20:13–38). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.
1 Peterson, D. G. (2009). The Acts of the Apostles (p. 562). Grand Rapids, MI; Nottingham, England: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.
1 Peterson, D. G. (2009). The Acts of the Apostles (p. 565). Grand Rapids, MI; Nottingham, England: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.