Not all the drama of the Olympics takes place during the Olympics. Some of it unfolds in the weeks and months leading up to the games, like the torch, for example.
In the spirit of the ancient Olympics in Greece, the Olympic torch is carried by runners over thousands of miles until it's finally carried into the opening ceremonies to light the official torch of the Olympic Games. In the case of the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, a journey of 15,280 miles, from Los Angeles to Atlanta, represents quite a torch run. Obviously one person doesn't do it all, I mean, not even I am in that good a shape! Now, every Olympic year there are many runners who each carry the torch for a fraction of the journey and then they hand it off to the next runner. In the case of the Atlanta Games, Coca Cola selected 2,500 of the 10,000 torch bearers that were needed. They accepted nominations from anyone that you might know who you thought was "worthy to carry the torch."
Well, I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Trusted With The Truth."
Now, Paul must have enjoyed the ancient Olympic Games. He made several references to them. As he writes his letter to his spiritual apprentice, Timothy, you can almost picture Paul as a torch bearer of the message of Jesus Christ. Writing from a prison cell, he's on his last lap before he will collapse into the arms of Jesus, but right now he's concerned about who will carry the torch from here.
Our word for today from the Word of God begins with 2 Timothy 1:12, he says, "I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have intrusted to him for that day." Able to guard - and he's saying commit the things that matter to you to Jesus, leave it with Him! Then he turns to Timothy in verse 14, "Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you." Paul cannot carry the message of Jesus much further. He turns to this dedicated young man and he says, "It's in your hands now, take good care of it." Then Paul realizes that many torch bearers are going to be needed to keep the torch moving, so chapter 2:2, he says, "The things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others." Get some more people ready to carry the torch of Jesus into darkened lives. It's considered a great privilege to be one who is considered worthy to carry the Olympic torch. It's a much greater honor to be considered worthy to carry the torch of Jesus, and you have been.
God says in 2 Corinthians 5:20, "We are Christ's ambassadors." This great message of what Jesus did on the cross for us has been carried this far by others, some of whom paid in blood to make sure the torch never flickered. It got to us. In your circle of influence, in the area where you live and work, the carrying of the torch is up to you. Those who have passed the torch through almost twenty centuries would say to us, as Paul was saying to Timothy, "Guard the deposit, don't drop this torch, don't mess up morally, or spiritually, don't give up, even when it hurts to keep running. This lap is up to you. Jesus and all those who have run for you are chanting, "Hold it high! Don't be ashamed of the Name and the love of Jesus. Tell the people on your leg of the journey about Jesus and His cross." This is no time to let the light flicker and don't just let the other believers around you be fans, politely clapping for those who are running, encourage and equip them to take the torch themselves.
One day you will, as the Apostle Paul did, cross that finish line, and collapse into the waiting arms of the One you've been running for, Jesus. He put you on the field to carry His torch proudly and faithfully, on your lap of the journey, for your stretch of the road. Will He say, "Well done"? Right now His torch is in your hands.