Daily Devotion 11 August 2020
2 Timothy 4:6-8 ‘Paul Encourages Timothy’
5 As for you, always be sober, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, carry out your ministry fully. 6 As for me, I am already being poured out as a libation, and the time of my departure has come. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 From now on there is reserved for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have longed for his appearing.
The London Marathon, which had been due to be held on 26th April, will now take place on Sunday 4th October. I recall one marathon runner saying, “I don’t know why I do it. It’s crazy. It’s completely exhausting. It’s painful and a lot of the time it’s about just keeping going. Frankly, it’s damned hard work.”
Famously, Pheidippides was the messenger who ran from Marathon to Athens in 490BC with the news of the great victory against the Persians. So the legend goes, he died on his arrival, overcome by exhaustion. But he’d kept going; he handed over his message; he completed his task – even to death. The interesting thing I have discovered, is that he actually ran about 24 miles. The current marathon distance of 26 miles 385 yards was fixed in 1908 at the London Olympics so that the runners could finish in front of the royal box! I’m glad they made that change.
With the lockdown now five months in duration, and the effects of the pandemic likely to be with us for many more months to come, we may well feel that we’re in a marathon. Captain Tom Moore, the 100-year-old veteran and fundraiser, became Sir Thomas Moore last month. What he did was in effect, a marathon. So too, was the 58 days on a ventilator in Southampton General Hospital for a young woman suffering from Covid-19. You will have your own examples of fortitude, no doubt.
But whatever we are called to endure, we are promised that we shall be ‘more than conquerors through him who loved us’ (Romans 8:37), and Paul went on in his letter to Timothy to speak of a royal welcome, and I believe that if you and I persevere in our Christian living, we too will receive ‘the crown of righteousness’ that is reserved for all who have kept the faith.
Leave God to order all thy ways, and hope in Him whate’er betide;
Thou’t find Him in the evil days thy all-sufficient strength and guide:
Who trusts in God’s unchanging love guilds on a rock that naught can move.
(from a hymn by Georg Christian Neumark – MHB 504)
Loving God, thank you for those whose faith and endurance have inspired and encouraged us.
We pray that you will renew our strength and refresh our spirits,
that we may run and not be weary, that we may walk and not faint.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Reflection & Prayer © 2020 Barrie Tabraham.
Image freely available online.
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