Lilies are beautiful when they bloom. After days of abiding to and being nourished by its branch, it blooms until it is time to wither. In withering, new space is provided for new lilies to bud, be nourished and then bloom.
It has been twenty-one months since the death of the former youth leader at my local church. Yet the lessons that I have learnt from our interactions persist in my heart today. Memory of her unwavering commitment to God continues to inspire me in my own journey with him. Her acts of kindness towards me gave me an idea of how to demonstrate compassion towards others.
My former youth leader has joined many believers who have finished their race. They have all joyfully ran their own race, sharing unforgettable moments at every step of the way. Nonetheless, we who are still running can never underestimate the Holy spirit’s ability to use memories of their lives to strengthen our hope and guide us in the path of righteousness.
Finished but not forgotten
It is remarkable that the work of the apostles finished many centuries back, yet we are still being discipled by them. No one can argue that they are not being discipled by the writings of Paul, Peter, James, Mathew, and John. However, you may argue that these men were inspired to write the bible so of course we would be discipled by them.
But what about C.S. Lewis, Bill Bright (Founder of Cru), Billy Graham, Kathryn Kuhlman, and saved friends and family members? Their lives were influential to the salvation of ourselves and many others across generations whether through direct personal relationships or on a public platform. Little did they know that their ‘yes’to God would impact so many lives even after their death.
This makes me a little more excited knowing that my acts of obedience still have bearings on people’s lives even after I die. That even if I had just touched one life, it promises to lead to the advancement of the kingdom of God even after I die. Hallelujah! What blessed hope we have. That even when our work is finished in this life, it is never forgotten.
Passing on the baton as we brace for the finish line
So how should we live then? Bracing for the finish line or passing on the baton? The anchor leg of a relay is often the most glamorous as it is critical to how well a team finish. However, the anchor is as good as the other legs since the passage of the baton is the most critical component of a relay.
There is a lot of life to live until our race finishes. There are tasks to get done, sins to wrestle with and people to love and disciple. However, in living we groan in this mortal body.
Persistent in our obedience to the Spirit rather than our flesh. Therefore, we are advised to forget about what's behind and brace for the finish line; and in bracing for the finish line, we are passing on the baton to the next believer.
The Holy spirit does use our lives as launching pads for others. I know the Holy Spirit used the life of my former youth leader as a launching pad for me. She wisely denied me of the opportunity to pursue a ministry which I truly enjoyed but was not sure if God wanted me to pursue it.
It was through this denial that the Spirit began to redirect me into his purposes. Her life taught me to embrace my place in the space that God has provided for me.
That was one way she passed on the baton to me; and now I live, bracing for the finish line so that I may pass the baton to the next believer. Striving to be obedient at every step of the way. Rejoicing, knowing that my work has implications on eternity.
Discipleship from the grave
Therefore, we live knowing that our acts of obedience may not always be documented in books or videos, but they are inscribed onto the hearts of those who were impacted by them. Even in death, people’s prior lifelong commitment to Jesus Christ still has implications on the non-believer’s acceptance of, and the believer’s commitment to the gospel.
This gives us hope as we endeavor to live obedient lives. Knowing that the Holy Spirit can use our life’s work as tools of discipleship while we rest in the grave until our Lord returns.
Akeel Henry is a prisoner of hope. He enjoys sharing the hope of Jesus Christ with all individuals. He is currently a trained biochemist who aspires to become a medical doctor and pastor in the future. He believes that the secret to contentment is a moment by moment dependence on God’s grace, power and provisions.