The end of a baseball season can be a bit disillusioning. Why? Because there are teams that, in a sense, have nothing left to play for—and it shows on the field. We see it in September, with the end-of-season call-ups that are there to be watched and observe. The fact is, however, that they are not there to help the team win today. That ship has sailed—and everyone on the team knows it. Some of the players are thinking about the off-season, some are wondering where they will be playing next season, and some are just weary of the grind. In the best sense, however, a true professional is motivated to do his or her best every time out—all the way to the end. In track, this is called running through the tape. You don’t ease up the last 10 yards. You don’t coast the final leg of the race. You don’t mail it in because the season has been over for months even though it has not yet ended. No, you run through the tape. You stay faithful all the way to the end. That is what it means to finish the race. You finish the way you started—giving your best.
When Jesus wrote a letter to the ancient church at Ephesus, it was a congregation facing difficult times and painful challenges, but Christ made it clear that they were not to throw in the proverbial towel—they were to finish the race. Notice His challenge to them:
“Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to cast some of you into prison, so that you will be tested, and you will have tribulation for ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.” (Revelation 2:10)
“Faithful unto death.” That kind of faithfulness is stretched and threatened by difficult times—but the challenge to us is clear. Christ went all the way to the cross to finish the race for us. We are called to follow His example, and be faithful—running all the way through the tape.
Join us tomorrow on Sports Spectrum radio as we discuss running the race—all the way to the finish line.
Bill Crowder, Sport Spectrum Chaplain