November 17, 2023
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Honest, we really didn't mean to be in northern Kentucky on Kentucky Derby weekend. But obviously, thousands of people did! In trying to avoid flooding as we traveled, that's exactly where we managed to be. So there we were in the middle of rampant Derby Fever. I didn't bet on anybody, and I refuse to wear one of those floppy hats.
The restaurant where we had dinner made sure the TV was on so everyone could watch the world's most famous horse race. Boy, I'll tell you, it is impressive! High-stakes horsemanship, a drama-packed "run for the roses" - over in two minutes. Yep!
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Whatever It Takes to Win Your Race."
Now, actually that race is pretty amazing to watch. Those horses, like, explode with raw power and they've got this give-it-all intensity; they're driving with everything they've got to win their race.
So should I. So should you. Like the original thoroughbred Jesus-man, Paul. Yeah, he talks about it in our word for today from the Word of God in 2 Timothy 4. I'm going to begin reading in verse 6, with Paul's final words of his final letter before he made the final sacrifice for Jesus. He will soon die for his allegiance to Christ. Here's what he wrote: "I am already being poured out...I have finished the race" (2 Timothy 4:6-7). Hey, when you pour out what's in a pitcher, it's empty; there's nothing left. Paul says, "Man, I've got nothing left at the finish line. That's the way I want it to be." It's just like his Master.
I've actually been thinking a lot lately about the fact that God calls our life in Him a race. Not a jog, but a race to the finish line. Are you running it with that kind of intensity, that kind of passion? See, the thing is, we don't know how much longer we have before we get to the finish line. That's why we've got to run with everything we've got. We're talking about thoroughbred intensity here, not just casual, go-to-church, business-as-usual Christianity. Even if I live to be 108, there are so few days to make the eternity difference I was put here to make. There are no days to waste, my friend, no opportunities we can afford to miss. There's no time to say "maybe later" to say that "I love you"...or to say the "thank you"...or to say the "here am I, Lord"...or maybe "let me tell you about Jesus."
I think it's time to make the prayer of Moses our prayer: "Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom" (Psalm 90:12). I think that's saying, "Make every day count, man." That's what it means to live smart. He said that's wisdom. We've got to race to the finish line. Randy Alcorn said, "Thirty seconds after we die, we will know how we should have lived." Wow! It's a little late then. How about getting that figured out now instead of when it's too late?
Because my finish line...well, it's not a carpet of roses. My finish line is Jesus. And, you know, His "well done" - that's the only prize that matters.