By Steve Meeker
“We are in a discipleship relay race, not a marathon or a sprint.” — Jim Feiker
As we run this race, our strides are interconnected with those who have gone before us and the generations we have the privilege of running alongside. Discipleship is woven together with the “Great Cloud of Witnesses” who already have entered their rest, Christ followers who are making disciples, and those next to run (Hebrews 12:1).
Today, as you hit stride in your race of faith in Christ, remember to run in such a way that prepares you to persevere no matter the situations you face along the way. Cultivate spiritual habits that draw you closer to God so when difficulties come you are enabled to keep on keeping on. Endure and do not lose focus on Christ as He has selected you to be a part of the winning team and empowers you to run the segment of the race marked out for you.
Remember, God’s commands found in the Bible enable us to develop our spiritual stamina and are good for us. In the book of Colossians we read, “Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving,” (Colossians 4:2).
Put into practice, this command enables you to depend on the One who gives the strength you need to step out in faith. Along with this, praying in thanksgiving provides perspective and reminds me I am not the author of my race, God is and my Heavenly Father is faithful to provide all I need to run throughout this present-day.
Running a relay of endurance, not only reminds me of what my loving Father has already accomplished, but with each stretch forward the vision of those Jesus calls me to disciple in life’s race becomes clearer. Although the baton is in my hand for a season, as one called to “Go and make disciples” I must be prepared to look for the handoff (Matthew 28:18-20).
How do I hand the baton off in discipleship? May I encourage you to ask God to enable you to see the potential in those who you will disciple and then commit to stride alongside them. This can only be done in relationship so it requires intentionality in setting a pace that cultivates building spiritual endurance. If they trip while the pace is being set, be prepared to provide a safe place for them to get back to their feet so they learn to run.
Now comes the hard part, the handoff. You might be tempted to hold on too long to the baton of ministry, but we must remember it’s not our baton and it was meant to be passed on. Encourage those whom you are blessed to disciple to open their hands and get ready to receive the baton. Place it in their hand and continue to step together, but then let them run!
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such
opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. – Hebrews 12:1-3