The marathon runner crests the last hill and glimpses the finish line. His eyes widen while his frenzied heart beats even faster. His race is nearly done. So he shakes the sweat from his head, grunts as he accelerates and gives one last kick at the end – sprinting toward the finish line. What inspires such effort from someone so clearly fatiqued? How can he muster even more energy when his lungs already burn? The prize at the end of the race makes each ache and every pain worthwhile.
The apostle John, as a very old man, wrote the Book of Revelation. He certainly wasn’t up for running any marathons. Yet inwardly, his heart continued to race. Before him hung the finishing tape of his apocalypse, the entire Bible, the Christian faith, and history itself. Just across the finish line awaited the prize that made every pain he had endured worth it in the end. But what was the prize?
Revelation 21:4 gives us the answer. “There will be no more pain, death, tears, or sorrow.” There is for every Christ-follower an incredible prize on the other side of the finish line.
There is an organization called Upward Sports. I love what they do. Sponsoring three competitive sports – basketball, soccer, and cheering – they do two things that make them different. First, they share the Gospel of Christ with each participant. Second, they don’t keep score.
That’s fine for kids’ sports, I suppose. But God keeps score. We are all in the race of our lives. But only those who run with Christ will cross the finish line victoriously.