God used two very different events this past weekend to speak one similar truth to my heart.
The first happening was the High School State Swim Meet. Friday and Saturday I stood on the pool deck as an assistant coach for Ravenwood High School. My favorite events in this Championship meet were the relays. The energy on both the pool deck and in the water was electric. One by one, with the support and encouragement of their teammates, each swimmer took his/her turn and gave 100% effort in their designated part of the race.
The second happening of the weekend was the 3rd grade Sunday School class at Fellowship Bible Church. Mac and I, as well as our kids, help teach this class. Recently, we have been learning about different missionaries that have furthered the spread of God’s Word to the “ends of the earth.” I will mention three of these people:
John Wycliffe–born 1320. In the face of much opposition from the Roman Catholic Church, Wycliffe successfully translated the Latin Bible into English so that the common man could read it for himself.
William Tyndale–born 1494. Tyndale, too, fought for the common man. He was determined to translate the Bible from Hebrew and Greek into English and make it available to all. In 1536, he was burned at the stake by power-hungry religious leaders. His last words were, “Lord, open the King of England’s eyes.” God heard and answered his faith-filled prayer; soon after his death, copies of English Bibles were put in all churches.
Gladys Aylward–born 1902. After being told by a mission organization that she was unqualified to be a missionary in China, Gladys went anyway, alone. God directed her to the Chinese orphans, and during World War II, she successfully lead 100 parentless children to safety as they fled from the Japanese soldiers. All the while, she told the children about the love of her Savior, Jesus Christ.
Now, what do these missionaries have to do with the High School State Swim meet? Great question. I believe these men and women of the faith, and many more like them, are on the same “relay team.” Each missionary mentioned above, although living centuries apart, ran the same race. Their common bond was their heart’s desire of proclaiming the gospel to a lost world. While they were “on”, they gave 100% effort, until their last breath. Scripture attests to this idea:
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith… (Hebrews 12:1-2).
So what about you and me today? Are we part of this “relay” team that has gone before us? Yes, I do believe it’s our turn. As long as we have breath, we’re “on”. It is our day to proclaim the gospel to a lost world. You may not be the one to translate a Bible into a different language or lead orphans over a mountain, but what God asks you to do is just as “great”… pour out His love, and proclaim His Good News…to your neighbor, to your co-worker, to your family… to your world.
So dive in with me, my friend, it’s our turn…not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord (Romans 12:11).