II Timothy 4:7: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”


When someone that you trust and adore is about to die, you long to hear their final words of insight, wisdom and love. You gather at their (bed)side and strain to hear every syllable of blessing, encouragement, and advice, knowing that you will soon be unable to hear their sweet voice again.


One of the most knowledgeable, influential and beloved men in history is the apostle Paul. He writes his last words in a sweet letter of encouragement to Timothy, a young pastor in the church of Ephesus. Paul was in a cold Roman prison and he knew he was about to die. He wrote a letter to Timothy to pass the torch to a new generation of church leaders. 

 My life is like a SLINKY. I’m all wound up in a coil. Sometimes I am more flexible than at other times. When all packed into my box, I am immobile. No one has put me into service (yet).


Then someone buys me and sets me at the top of the stairs and pushes me into motion. I expand my coil and carefully edge toward the crevasse to take my first big step. Over the edge I go. I jump in with both feet (well actually, my entire coil). I commit to the plunge.


That’s life. I remain immobile for a time and someone comes along and gently spreads my coils. As I begin to inch along, I discover what lies ahead and have the courage to take my first step. (“What do you want to do through me today, Lord?”)


And then, I roll off the edge of the stair. I land hard. I’m even hurt sometimes and remain immobile for a time. But sometimes I have enough momentum to propel forward to the next step without hardly taking a breath. Yup, forward motion. Take a chance. Run toward the unknown that may seem way over the edge.


Jesus bought me. He paid the price. He propels me to go out into the world and take a leap of faith into the unknown.


And so, when I am breathing my last breath and someone stretches to hear my final words, I pray that I can be like Paul and say, “I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”


Dear Jesus,

Thank you for making me like a SLINKY. All wound up in a box on delivery just waiting to get into your service.


I know that when I get to the bottom of the stairs and I’ve run out of time, energy and resources, there will always be someone there to pick me up and take my SLINKY back up to the top of the stairs and pass me along to a new generation of believers (or to simply let me run the race again). Amen.


Carole Schumacher

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