In my younger and lighter years, I ran track. Two of my races were the 440 and 880 relay. There were four legs in the 440 relay race, and each leg was 110 yards. The 880 had four varying length legs. As a sprinter, I was given the shortest leg.
To finish the race correctly without being disqualified, each runner had to hand off the baton smoothly and efficiently in the zone provided. If we were not trained and effective in the art of handing off the baton, we cost our team precious seconds, and often the race.
If we did not hold the baton correctly as we ran, the hand-off was a nightmare. If we dropped the baton, our relay race came to an end. And if we did not hand it off in the prescribed and assigned lane, we were disqualified.
Examining the life of Paul, I find the “handoff” procedure to be intentional and with parameters. Two of his students became the next runners with truth.
To Timothy he wrote,
Take the things you heard me say in front of many other witnesses and pass them on to faithful people who are also capable of teaching others.
To Titus, Paul defined the look of the baton of truth and the clean hand-off of truth.
In your teaching be serious and sincere. Let the instruction that you give be sound and above reproach, so that our opponents may be ashamed because they find no evil things to say about us.
Teachers of the truth of God’s Word can find a correlation between the relay race and the hand-off of truth.
- The race is our God-ordained, prescribed, and assigned life plan.
- The runners are the God-called, trained, and fit teachers of truth.
- The baton is God’s unadulterated truth.
- The relay team members are all of those teachers of truth that will come behind us.
- Every hand-off needs to be done carefully and efficiently so that truth does not become an admixture that disqualifies the runner.
- The lane is the place of influence in which the teachers teach.
- The zone is the time frame, the teachable moments, and the opportunities given by God to impart truth.
Shall we not desire to transfer truth carefully and efficiently? Will we be able to say that we held the baton of God’s truth carefully, ran with it prayerfully, and then handed it off efficiently to younger men so that the race could continue until Jesus comes?
There is a finish line in each race; the prize will be a “well done!”
About the Guest Author
Paul Waters is Senior Pastor of Myrtle Grove Baptist Church in Wilmington, NC. He is originally from South Carolina where he grew up the son of a Baptist pastor. There he developed a love for the knowledge of the Word and for the practical applications of the Scriptures.
Relay runners photo: “Bundesarchiv Bild 183-41708-0008, Heinz Fütterer, Manfred Steinbach”
by Wendorf; Wlocka provided to Wikimedia Commons by the German Federal Archive
(Deutsches Bundesarchiv) as part of a cooperation project.
Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0-de via Wikimedia Commons.