Homestretch - Monday Musing, October 19, 2020
Homestretch. It is said that the concluding straight part of a racecourse or the last part of an activity or campaign is the “homestretch.” I don’t know about you, but I am glad that this year’s political campaign is nearing the homestretch so we can stop hearing from candidates about what they will do. It will be nice when they get to work and start doing the job of governing instead of just talking about it.
Is there such a thing as homestretch when it comes to faith? The Apostle Paul in his second letter to Timothy says, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Tim 4:7). This well-known and often quoted passage is quite significant in that this epistle was Paul’s last before his martyrdom in 67 CE. It is a deeply moving affirmation of his unwavering faith and unyielding love for the gospel of Jesus Christ. When it comes to our faith, are we in a race?
I always thought faith was a journey, not a destination, which means it will be tough to find the homestretch. Jesus tells us to “Strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matt 6:33). In a children’s message, a ministerial colleague showed her kids a jar, rice, and a golf ball. She described the rice as all the things they do in a busy day. After pouring the rice in the jar, she said that if they try to fit God in at the end of the day (golf ball), you cannot secure the lid on the jar. She suggested putting God first in their day (golf ball first, then rice, shake the jar so everything settles), then the lid will close securely.
In yesterday’s worship, I mentioned that Jesus’ statement – “Give therefore to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (Matt 22:21) – does not provide us a clear road map to help us discern our missional work in this community. My colleague’s visual display to the kids using a bowl, rice, and a golf ball tells us that restructuring our priorities could help us with our collective journey of faith. Eugene Peterson in The Message puts Matthew 6:33 this way, “Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.”
So, let the racetrack and political campaigns have their homestretch. We have a journey to undertake.