“I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling.” – Philippians 3:14
In the early days of the Olympic games in Greece, there was a particular kind of race called the “Lampadedromia” that was very popular. The word simply means, “a torch race.” The runner who won the race was not just the man who crossed the line in the shortest time. The man who won was the man who crossed the finish line in the least amount of time with his torch or his light still burning.
With inclement weather, rugged terrain, and fatigue setting in, runners had to figure out the balance between making progress on the one hand and ensuring that the process, conditions, and wind didn’t blow out their light on the other hand. And so, the winner was declared to be the person whose light was still lit.
I thought about that image, and it seemed to me that the image reflects the challenge of life. We have to figure out how to keep the torch of our lives lit while we are trying to run our race. So many people start this race filled with hope, optimism, and determination, but then somewhere along the way, the flame that lights their lives goes out.
It’s extinguished by hardship, trauma, or racism. It’s extinguished by trying to survive in a world of diminishing finances. Their light gets snuffed out of them by violence, depression, addiction, and a lack of proper support. In many ways, the world in which we live has a way of blowing out our light.
Is your light still shining? What has “dimmed” your light, so to speak? As a follower of Christ, your light never has to burn out because nothing the world can throw at you is dark enough to put out the light of Christ. He wants you to use that light to shine in and through you as you continue to run your race. With Jesus, it is never lights out!