"I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth... Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use?"
Romans 9: 17 & 21
... or so proclaimed a Nike slogan that I glimpsed on a t-shirt recently. While I would like to believe that whoever came up with that phrase wanted me to have that invincible, "I can run forever!" feeling by looking at that shirt, I couldn't help but feel a little depressed when I saw it. While we are exhorted to run ("Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us"- Hebrews 12:1), and by the grace of God we can hope to run faster and farther than we ever thought we could ("I can do all things through him who strengthens me" - Philippians 4:13), we are still human, and mortal, and one day the race will end for us. [and I'm just a little uncomfortable at even the mere thought of running forever - I mean, forever IS forever, people!] But will we just run into a black hole, a nothingness where we can't even see what we were running towards?
"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing." - 2 Timothy 4:7-8
"Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable."
- 1 Corinthians 9:24
"His master said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.'" - Matthew 25:21
There is a finish line. And there is a prize. May we run, ever aware not just that we run, but of why we run. May we never take our eyes off our crowns of righteousness. May God find us faithful.
For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.