In the Greek games, a judge would stand at the finish line holding laurel leaves in plain sight. This was the reward given to the victor. As the runner came around that last stretch, feeling exhausted and unable to go another inch, he would catch a glimpse of the prize in the judge’s hands. And then a new burst of energy would kick in.
That is the picture we find in Hebrews 12:1–2. “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith” (NKJV).
Looking unto Jesus. . . . This keeps us going. We can get discouraged in the spiritual race. People let us down. They disappoint us. They don’t appreciate our hard work. They don’t see our efforts. They don’t see our real motives. They criticize us. But we say, “I’m not running for you. I’m running for the Lord, and I’ll keep going.”
We have to keep our eyes on Jesus Christ. Our prize is the crown of righteousness that He will give to us. That is why we live the Christian life. That is why we try to reach people for Him. It is not for applause. It isn’t for notoriety. It is so we can hear Jesus say to us on that final day, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”
If this were your last day on Earth, would you be able to say with the apostle Paul, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7 NKJV)? Would you have any regrets?