I enjoy track and field. It’s one of my favorite things to watch when the Olympics roll around every four years. (Sidenote: I really missed the Olympics last year.)
Of course, in the world of track and field, the fan-favorite races are the sprints, especially the relays. I have never been much of a sprinter, but I have always wanted to run in the relays. As a distance guy, I never got the chance. There’s just something about the quick starts, the teamwork, and the passing of the baton that capture my attention – and still create a sense of envy.
There was however one time I was able to run a relay. I cannot remember why I was recruited, but I do remember the dread of thinking, “What if I botch the exchange? What if I drop the baton?” I didn’t, but we didn’t win, and I was never on a relay again.
Church. We have a baton to pass. The ancient baton of faith. It has it’s origin woven into creation and has been passed faithfully throughout history and it is in our hands today. It is “the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.” God has faithfully preserved it among His people, and we are holding it now.
What are you going to do with it, Christian? Who are you going to pass it to? How are you going to pass it on? What shape are you going to pass it in?
Too many Christians take this baton and hide it. Like the servant that buried his talent, some bury their faith out of fear. Keep it close, after all, it’s a personal matter, what does it matter to other people? This fearful and timid faith comes dangerously close to surrendering faith into apostasy. Our faith, while personal, is not private. We are not saved merely for our own eternal preservation but as a display of His glory and as a part of His mission.
We must proclaim His gospel to all those around us, especially to those in the upcoming generations. Too many Christians are not thinking of passing this baton of faith. We may not hide it, but neither is it being extended to others. Instead of offering it to those around us, we enshrine it. We place it on a pedestal out of reach and adorn it with decorations that make the baton hard to see.
We want others to see Jesus in us, but they cannot distinguish between Jesus and all the stuff we’ve attached to him. We hope our children and grandchildren will walk after us in the faith, but we are unwilling to go into the future with them. We demand that they navigate the terrain of the future with the tools of the past. We cannot pass the baton to their hands if we continue to focus on our grip. A faith that is self-focused, will not be grasped by others.
If our faith is going to be passed on:
(1) We must model both faith and faithfulness. We must recognize what the gospel is and what we have attached to it, and then must pass on that which is essential as we speak of and act on the passions, priorities, and purposes of the Kingdom.
(2) We must adopt a heritage of faith. The church walks in a legacy of faithfulness thousands of years old. Let’s hear those stories. History is memory. We must never forget for where we have come. There is a legacy behind us that guides us to the plans God has in front of us. Even every changing times, in the midst of modern challenges, it is increasingly important to hold onto the constants of the faith, to the continuity of His Word.
(3) We must connect them to a people. Faith is a team sport. Faith, by God’s design, is meant to be lived out in community. We cannot experience the fullness of faith in Christ apart from the fellowship of His Bride, the church.
(4) We must pass the baton to a person. We cannot toss this baton of faith into a generic “generation.” Faith does not live on in instituions but in the hearts of people. We must share it with individuals, for if it is to be sent into the future, it will be individual believers who show it and share it with others. The gospel, this faith, only goes where people take it. So, we must invest in people, people we love and trust and encourage and teach and help.
(5) We must pray for those who are coming up behind us. There is so much more that can and should be said, but ultimately, this task is too big for us; we must trust God. And trusting God, we pray diligently and desperately for those we are sharing the gospel with. We want them to flourish in the faith as they walk with God, pursue His purposes, and fulfill His plans. In this, they will know life, eternal and abundant, and in the knowing they will be able to pass it on to others.
Passing on the faith is a personal investment that requires intentional action, sacrificial service, and earnest prayer. Let’s pray that we can build up one another, and especially future generations, unto multi-generational faithfulness.
If there is anything else I do to help you along this journey, please reach out by leaving a comment or sending an email. If you want to watch this message in it’s entirety, you can find it with past messages on our website: fbcblanco.org.