Passing the Torch

2 Timothy 4:6-7
For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.  I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:

In his writings to Timothy, Paul encouraged him to stand strong in an evil world that would deny everything his faith was built upon.  He had shared with Timothy the importance of persevering and holding fast to the truth.  And one of the reasons it was important for Timothy to carry on was because Paul was reaching the end of his race.  His time was short, and soon he would go to be with his Lord.  But the work must continue.

Paul’s legacy of preaching Christ and ministering and reaching others would go on through those he influenced.  Men like Timothy would preach the Gospel and reach lost people and endure the fire of persecution to spread the message of Jesus Christ.  Paul passes the torch, in a way.  He passes the relay baton to those who come after him and encourages them to keep running toward the prize and to finish strong like he did.

We are recipients of that legacy, as faithful people rose up in each generation to continue passing that torch to us today.  Down through the ages God’s Word was proclaimed and the church grew and the message spread, and that work continues with us today.  In each generation, believers in Christ must make a choice to stand up and proclaim God’s truth into the world around them, because none of us will live forever, and those who come after us must continue the work.

Paul left a good pattern to follow.  He persevered.  He was faithful.  He didn’t back down.  He served the Lord tirelessly and selflessly.  He left big shoes to fill, but they were filled.  And now we take our place in the race, going forth to impact not only the lost for the cause of Christ, but to encourage God’s people to remain faithful, to be examples for those who come next.  Let’s not underestimate the value of a life well lived and the influence we can have on others.  May we take seriously our part in God’s continuing story as we pass the torch to the next generation.

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