I love watching relay races.
I hate watching relay races – if I care about the outcome!
They make me nervous!
Those terrifying moments when the baton is passed – three times! – is enough to make the heart stop.
Back in the day, "The Hub" was a runner.
And he was fast – very fast. Since I went to school with him, I can remember watching him run relay races. He always ran in the *anchor* position. That was the last position, and it was reserved for the fastest runner on the relay team.
And, that *fastest runner* was "The Hub."
Oh, how he ran!
His face strained forward, his hair flew, his arms pumped, and his legs covered distance like a train barreling down the track. I saw him take a minor lead and turn it into a huge lead at the finish line. I saw him in "even" races where he nosed out the competition. And, I have seen him overcome a huge come-from-behind deficit and win!
Like I said, he was fast.
However, in a relay race, speed isn't the only thing. There is also an element of finesse involved.
Baton-passing is an art.
I am thinking about baton-passing this morning.
You see, things have changed in the last few weeks with my parents. My dad has fallen multiple times, and a couple of weeks ago, he fell badly. And, on top of that, both of my parents got very, very sick.
So, my brother, sister, and I decided it was time to step in – to have more of a presence in their daily life. This is the beginning of a new phase in all of our lives.
There just comes a time when the baton passes on to another generation.
It requires timing, concentration, sensitivity, and teamwork.
Let me tell you, it's a delicate dance.
Especially when there's quite a bit of *pushback* from those baton-passing parents. They (my dad) are kinda holding on tightly. It's tough – batons don't get passed if the forerunner doesn't let go!
We're working on it.
As I think about this, I am also thinking about Jesus.
He spent three years with the disciples. Can you even imagine how intense those three years must have been? He was their leader, their shepherd, their caretaker. The disciples relied on Him. They turned to Him for advice, and counsel, and guidance.
He was like a parent to them in many ways.
And then, the time came when He was going to leave them.
God bless those disciples – they didn't really *get it* at first. But when they did, I think it was shocking and disturbing – their Lord was leaving them??
It was time for the baton to be passed.
Jesus said these words to them:
"I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age." (from Matthew 28:18-20)
I wonder what they felt like.
I'm thinking they felt much like I do. Scared, overwhelmed, inadequate.
I'm really used to having my parents be *top dog* – I am uncomfortable with taking on new responsibilities.
But, here we are.
And I am thinking, too, about the fact that Jesus has also passed on the baton – not just to His twelve disciples – but also on to me (and you!)
He uttered "The Great Commission" to all of us.
My first reaction is "What was He thinking??"
How could He trust something so important – spreading the Gospel of His life-saving message – to HUMANS?! Fallible, stumbling, sinful humans??
But He did.
He passed the baton.
At just the right time.
So, though I am often uncomfortable with the responsibilities of being a representative of Christ, a bearer of His Good News – and though it's most often an overwhelming task – I am comforted and encouraged and strengthened by what Jesus said:
"I am with you always…"
That's the secret.
It is Jesus who helps me as I enter this new phase of taking care of my parents. It is Jesus who helps me hold on to the baton tightly, and gives me the power to run my part of the race.
And it is Jesus who helps me spread His message to the world.
Let's run, friends!
With determination, with perseverance, with faith.
I don't know about you, but I'm going for a world record!!
The Light Passes On and On...
"And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us."
"Honor your father and mother, as the LORD your God commanded you." (Deuteronomy 5:16)
What *new race* is God calling you to run in your life?
(SIDENOTE: My thoughts and prayers go out to all the people who were affected by the terrible events at the Boston Marathon. Words can never express my sorrow. May we dedicate ourselves to spreading the Good News about a loving God who did something about this fallen world.)
Linked today with:
Joan at SHARING HIS BEAUTY
Michelle at HEAR IT ON SUNDAY, USE IT ON MONDAY
Pamela at A SHELTERING TREE
Tracy at WINSOME WEDNESDAY
Charlotte at SPIRITUAL SUNDAYS
BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"