Finishing Our Race
"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith." 2 Timothy 4:7
I didn't love everything about "The Book of Eli." Some have argued that it's a Christian film. I wouldn't go that far. I believe Denzel Washington is a Christian, and where he could, he used his influence in the film. One of the powerful pieces is when his character, Eli, quotes the verse above when describing the completion of his mission — which he believes was from God — near the close of the film.
I heard that verse again this week. Peyton Manning, who just won the Super Bowl with the Denver Broncos, officially retired from professional football on Monday. It was the end of a brilliant and decorated 18-year career. In five years, he'll be a first-ballot Hall of Fame inductee. His speech was touching, gracious, and beautiful — a reflection of the man behind the player. In it he said:
"When I look back on my NFL career, I’ll know without a doubt that I gave everything I had to help my teams walk away with a win. There were other players who were more talented but there was no one could out-prepare me and because of that I have no regrets. There’s a scripture reading, 2 Timothy 4:7: I have fought the good fight and I have finished the race. I have kept the faith. Well, I’ve fought a good fight. I’ve finished my football race and after 18 years, it’s time. God bless all of you and God bless football."
It was a beautiful moment where Manning wasn't afraid to share his faith on the biggest stage. What makes that passage striking is how honest it is and what a bench mark it sets. Paul is a giant of the faith. His words — speaking of his own journey — should ring true to all believers as a goal.
Manning, clearly, isn't done with his final race, only his football race, as he said. I can't wait to see how his journey continues. But more than that, I felt like his speech gave us all a chance to think about what it means to run the race well, to fight the good fight and finish what's set before us.
What is your race? Are you fighting the good fight? Have you kept the faith? Those were the questions I couldn't help but ask myself this week after reflecting on those words of Paul, brought to the forefront of our thoughts by Peyton Manning.
If our goal, like Paul, is to fight the good fight, finish the race, and keep the faith — what are we doing to get that done? It's a thought worth pondering for all believers. It's a beautiful ideal, and a great reminder.