The Crown of Victory
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."-Matthew 6:19-21 Last night ended our baseball season. Our two youngest completed their first T-Ball Season, our oldest had finished strong in the end of the year tournament, and the second oldest, whose season had ended a few weeks back cheered them on. Our Oldest was disappointed, that after an undefeated season, they lost their last game. I won't get in to logistics (I have my own opinions of it), but we used it as a lesson on how to lose gracefully. They had a GREAT season. It was a team that had the odds against it, but they prevailed, over and again. They lost two players, one early on, and one mid-season, and yet they still managed to be undefeated until their very last game. Winning is great, but we learn a lot by losing, as well.
As we were headed home, we talked about how it doesn't always seem like we win in life. Heck, we talked about the prophets, Jesus and the apostles throughout the Bible. Often times they had to preach, and people didn't listen to them, even becoming violent toward them, to the point where many lost their lives. They loved people, and they didn't seem to win. Yet here we are, believers in Christ many millennia after they passed, hearing their words, and being transformed through Christ. What enemies thought was a win, God used for His victory and glory.
As believers, we can learn a lot from what the world calls losses, and even come out the victor on the other side, even if that means we should lose everything, even our very lives in the process. It's how we hand it over to the One who designed, formed, transformed and reforms us that gives us success. We aim to fight the good fight, to finish the race put before us, wherever that leads. And if we endure to the very end, the crown of Victory and "Well done, my good and faithful servant" await those who wait upon the Lord.
2 Timothy 4:1-18 I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.
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.
Do your best to come to me soon. For Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia. Luke alone is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is very useful to me for ministry. Tychicus I have sent to Ephesus. When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, also the books, and above all the parchments. Alexander the coppersmith did me great harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds. Beware of him yourself, for he strongly opposed our message. At my first defense no one came to stand by me, but all deserted me. May it not be charged against them! But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion’s mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.