In the summer Olympics, the relay race is an event made up of a team of four runners. Between the start and finish lines are areas called the change zones where batons are passed off between the respective runners in their endeavor to win the race. We, as Christians, also have a race to run.
I’m going to suggest that we should strive to be a part of the FWLE relay team where one’s baton is passed between the four qualities of faith, works, love and endurance. These four virtues were all endorsed by our Lord Jesus Christ, our life coach, team trainer, and mentor. Being a member and successfully training on the FWLE team will ensure us to be winners in the relay race of life.
The first leg of our race is to be run by our first virtue of faith. We read in Hebrews 11:1 —
“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”
Jesus then tells us in Luke 18:17 that we should receive the kingdom of God like a child. Children have a way of believing in certain things even though they may not have the ability to touch, feel, smell, or taste it. The story is told of a young boy who kept a special jar. To those that looked at the jar it appeared to be totally empty. When the little boy was asked what was in the jar he replied, “Why it’s the wind, I caught it myself.” Like the little boy, we can’t see, touch, or taste the wind, we can only hear and feel it, but yet no one ever doubts it exists.
Often we worry about our lack of faith, but then we recall Jesus’ words in Mathew. He tells us that if we only have the faith as small as a tiny mustard seed, we can still do great things. (Matthew 17:20)
But faith alone will not help us win the race, we need to pass on the baton to our next virtue which is works. In James 2:14-17 we read —
“What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.”
We need to have faith in the Lord, and then use that faith to be willing to help others. Even young people can do a lot of good for others like raking the yard of an elderly person, donating used toys/clothing, or babysitting for a mother that needs to look for a job; there are always plenty of good works waiting to be done.
So even if we have faith and works, these things alone will not successfully complete our race. In 1 Corinthians 13, Paul tells us that we could have the faith to move mountains, we could give away all that we have to the poor, but if we don’t have love, neither faith nor works would do us any good. So how much and who are we to love? Jesus tells us in Matthew 22:37-39 —
“And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
So we need to pass on our baton to our third virtue of love.
We have faith, we engage in good works, we love God with all our hearts and minds, and we try our best to treat others like ourselves. By doing all these things we are well on our way to running a good race, but we can’t just run with these things for a while and then stop in the middle of the track. Paul described to his disciple Timothy how he fought the good fight and kept the faith, but he also tells him he knows he must finish the course to the end. Participating for a while will not get us to the end unless we have the endurance to go all the way. So we must pass on the baton to our final virtue of endurance.
In Hebrews 12:1-3, the author tells us to get rid of all the sins and problems that are weighing us down so we may run with endurance the race set before us. The entire time we are running, we should keep our eyes on Jesus — the one that died for us. They suggest that if we have our eyes fixed upon Jesus that we will have the endurance we need to successfully cross the finish line.
So there we have it – the four virtues necessary to successfully compete in the relay race of life. We must pass our baton from faith, to good works, to love, and finally to endurance. All four of our relay members are essential and important. If any of the four trips and falls, our race will be a loss. So how about you? Could you see yourself becoming a member of a FWLE relay team? And for those of us that participate, what awaits us at the finish line? It will be eternity’s greatest and largest trophy – a crown of life.
It will definitely be worth the run.
Emma, comes to us from just down the road in Alvaton, Kentucky. She has a heart for serving others, and is usually found fightin’ fires and savin’ lives around Bowling Green. In times away from the station, you can find her humming a tune, debating on cutting her hair, or capturing memories through pictures.