I have the privilege to minister more specifically into the lives of high school adults on weekly basis. In the context of high schools, they are entering the time of year where the leaders of 2017 need to hand over to the leaders that are selected for 2018. Matric exams are starting soon, so the baton has to be passed before the focus shifts more to academics. This hand over of the baton is usually during a Valedictory assembly where the head students of the current year address the school; whereafter the leaders for the following year are announced. The main point: someone is handing over to someone else; with the hope that they build on the foundations that have been laid and go even further than what the current leadership could.
This includes encouragement as well as some warnings. We have a powerful display of a Valedictory moment in 2 Timothy 4 where Paul is writing to his son in the faith, Timothy. Paul knows that he is about to be executed for being a witness of the resurrected Jesus Christ and he is giving his younger son a final letter of encouragement and warning. We pick it up in 2 Timothy 4:6-8, “For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. 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.”
Paul is stating confidently that he has fought the good fight, that he has finished the race and that he has kept the faith. What a way to set up Timothy who is to keep doing the work of the Lord when Paul is not around anymore. Is it only Paul that can write a Valedictory speech that states this? No! I believe that through the power of the Holy Spirit, we are called to live a life that fights the right fight, that finishes the race and that keeps the faith, and then we pass on to those who come after us!
How can we build long term so that we last all the way to the finish line as well as pass on the baton successfully to the next generation?
Here are 3 quick points (there are many):
Fight the good fight. My question to us is - which fights are we fighting? Are we fighting to be the most popular? Are we fighting to be the most successful? Are we fighting in the flesh? My appeal to us is to make sure that we keep the fight in the spirit with the power of the Spirit. This is where our victory is, the already won victory of Christ. Fighting the wrong fights wear you out. Stick with Jesus in the fight. He has won and with Him you will keep on winning.
Finish the race. Many people start with a bang but they do not last to the finish line. Why? One reason might be that they didn’t pace themselves for the race. The enemy often adds more fuel to our passion (makes us more busy) so that we are continually busy with stuff that might seem to be “good stuff” – but we miss Jesus in the over-busy schedule of our lives. Find Jesus’ pace for your life. It is worth running with Him. His pace is always the best. He changes pace at the correct time.
Keep the faith. This is such a crucial point for where we are at in the 21st century. Many a teaching is thrown at us from different fields and sources. Sometimes we are challenged head on for what we believe. My encouragement to us is two-fold: avoid silly myths and steer clear from also teachings (1 Timothy 4:7), as well as stand on the Word of God. His Word is the truth and will not change. Jesus is the way, the truth and the life.
Let us run together all the way to the finish line, and let us continue to set up the next generation on a Biblical foundation that they can build upon.
Written By: Raymond Hill