I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith
II Timothy 4:7 NASB
The words of this simple verse are actually pretty important in the whole scope of the ministry of the Apostle Paul. They are a part of the last portion of the second pastoral letter from Paul to his closest protégé, Timothy. In a sense, this is kind of his closing though of instruction.
He’s just given Timothy some great advice for his ministry, a “solemn charge” to be ready already to preach the Word. This is much more than an admonition to be “Biblical” in his teaching; he’s charging Timothy to share Christ with those in his congregation. This is very real Kingdom stuff.
And then he speaks the words in our current verse. Paul is saying that his “race” is about finished. He’s handing off the baton of ministry to his successor. And, he closes it by saying that he has kept the faith.
I know that most of you are a long way from finishing the course of your life, including the work of ministry that He created you to accomplish. In reading this verse today, we’re not saying that we should all pack it in and hand off all the hard work to the next generation. This is, for most of us, a very future kind of thing. We’re not ready to say it now.
But, there is a lot of “now” involved in this statement of faith. It’s really the gist of what Paul is trying to say to Timothy.
Yes, he, Paul, HAS about come to the end of his course, but he is offering these words to Timothy not so much about himself, but as a part of a greater admonition that Timothy should be doing the things he needs to do in order to be able to say this when it’s his turn.
Probably, when we come to the end of our lives, we’ll all want to be able to say that we accomplished something. Everyone wants to have a legacy.
And, if we’re actually followers of Jesus Christ, we want that legacy to include, prominently, the fact that we were successful in doing the work He assigned to us. We’d all like to be able to honestly say we fought the good fight for Christ, and that we kept the faith.
But, you can’t wait until the end to start keeping that faith. You have to actually plant the seeds of it right now. That’s why, in my opinion, this verse is so important to us today. This is our alert, a handy reminder, that if we want to be able to make this great statement of faith at the end of our lives, we need to be doing some of that good fighting and faith keeping right now.
What’s the assignment He’s given you? He gives all of us work to do if we’re following Him. What’s yours?
And, how are you keeping the faith right now? What specific things will you do today to make that steady investment of faith keeping that leads to this good end in life?
Don’t wait. Don’t let the cares of this life take up all your time. Get to work now.
Do some faith keeping today. It’ll pay off in the end.
Always praying for you,
Your Older Brother,