Sometimes you have to go searching for a message. But sometimes a message comes to you, as if from God. I just experienced such a moment with the wake and funeral of a beloved elderly sister in my zone.
2nd Tim 4:7-8
"7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
8 Now there is in store 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 longed for his appearing."
Many times when we see this passage, we think about the hardships of Paul as a missionary. But the importance is simply to "finish faithfully".
Point 1: The imagery of a Race. How it is important to finish honorably. And how hard it is given the trails and temptations, see vs 3-4.
Point 2: The imagery of the righteous Judge. We will be given a fair verdict for our deeds on earth.
Point 3: The imagery of the "appearing". This often refers to citizens awaiting a royal appearance. Feel the expectancy and waiting, and the joyful reception the follows.
Conclude: A rewarding life. To get your just prize for a life of worship.
A testimony about the subject matter (the dead) is also meant for the listeners (the living).
Point 1: The Christ that lived in the subject is also living in us. It is an eternal bond that makes us run the same race.
Point 2: The Witness. A life of faith. Living with an aim to shed temporal pain and pleasure for a reunion in eternity.
Point 3: The Cheerleader. The crowd of witnesses are cheering us on.
Conclude: We too must run this race for the joyous reunion in the heavenly place awaiting us.
WoW27: It is not the intensity or the competition that matters, true sportsmanship lies in finishing the race.