David went down with his men to fight against the Philistines, and he became exhausted….(2 Sa 21:15)
When I was in junior high I used to run the 4X200 relay race. When my turn came to run, I would wait with great anticipation for the handoff. We would go over it many times in practice, to prepare ourselves for it. Once I received the baton I would run with all my might. Doing it for my teammates, coaches, school and those cheering me on.
We as adults have a baton to pass along too; it is the work of the Kingdom. As David grew older, those under him recognized that it would no longer be wise for him to go out into battle like he used to. David would now have to trust those under Him to fight for his Kingdom. He had spent years, investing in and training up these men and now it was their time to fight. It was their time to protect the kingdom and David’s throne.
Could it be that the generations under us are not investing their hearts, energy, time and talents into the Kingdom, because we have not passed them the baton? Could it be that we have spent far too much training them to be worldly instead of Godly? Now the time has come to rise up and they are running the opposite direction. Could it also be that we ourselves are not even running the race God would have for us? Maybe you’ve sidelined yourself out of fear. Maybe you’ve given up on running hard after God because the anti-thesis feels much safer and easier. It could be you feel like such a failure the thought of getting back in the race feels overwhelming, so we leave the race and burrow our heads in the sand, hoping that life will get better in our hiding.
The generations under us are looking for significance. They are longing for authenticity. They want to make a difference in this world and the baton that we have passed to them is a smartphone, a tablet and a whole lot of pressure to fit in, be the best athlete, get a college scholarship and be the top of their class. We are not checked into the Kingdom, because we have checked out on social media ourselves. We do not “look up” with eyes ready to see God, because we’re looking down, checked out on relationships. Instead, checking ourselves into mind-numbing activity.
What if we started training the generations under us to be Godly? What if our time and energy were spent investing in their spiritual lives? So that when the time comes, as we’re all running the same race with God, the baton gets passed to them? Then, they start running with all their might to do the work of the Kingdom.
Jesus, help us. Our eyes are often not fixed on your Kingdom work. We are easily distracted. Forgive us. Raise up Kingdom workers for your glory. Go before us. We want to follow you with reckless abandon. Jesus, we trust you, fill our lives with great purpose as we run the race you would have for us today, Amen!