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Pass the Baton


Did you have a field day at your elementary school? It's different now, but back when I was a student, it was a day full of physical activities where students competed and showed off their athletic competencies. I remember attending these school-wide events at the end of every school year. Regardless if you were athletic or not, you participated. It included competition between students and classes of the same grade. Students were awarded ribbons if they came in 1st, 2nd, or 3rd place. Every event had three winners.


With my mediocre athletic abilities, I didn't earn any ribbons except once in all my elementary years. It wasn't first place but third. It was in a relay race against other classes in the same grade. I vividly remember our gym teacher assisting my third-grade teacher with the teams. They scanned a clipboard with a list of names, looked at us, and then back at the board. The teachers picked the fastest students to represent the class and selected four runners. Even though I was probably the slowest of the four, I beamed with so much pride because I was considered "fast" and had a chance to run the relay against the other three third-grade classes.


I handpicked my sneakers over my black Mary Jane shoes that morning, not expecting to participate in any special events. If it were going to be like any other field day, I would be watching my classmates and cheering on my friends from the sidelines as they received their awards. However, this time I had a chance to join them on the imaginary podium in the front of the classroom.


When it was time for the relay races, the gym teacher articulated the rules and instructions to all the participants. We had 'practiced' during PE, so we were familiar with what to do. He reminded us that timing is one of the keys to a relay race. You have to have the first runner with the baton running toward the next runner with the baton ready to pass on. And the next runner who receives the baton runs with their hand behind them, anticipating the baton to be released to them. My teammates and I had to pick who would go in what order. I recall choosing to be the third runner because we were in the third grade. We all stood on our marks and waited for the whistle to blow so we could begin. The first runner ran and passed the baton onto the second, and when I noticed her close by, I bolted. When the rod finally reached my sweaty palms, I ran as fast as my little legs could carry my portion of the race and ran to my teammate as he finished the relay for us into third place. It was thrilling to participate with my teammates and finally win a ribbon. We all ran the race; some received the baton, some passed, and some did both.

At some point in life, we also will pass a baton, receive one, or be involved with both. Sometimes we're teaching, coaching, mentoring, and pouring into someone. And then, other times, we're on the receiving end. In the Bible, some examples are Moses passing the baton to Joshua, David to Solomon, Elijah to Elisha, Jesus to His disciples, and Paul to Timothy.


For the past 18 years, we have discipled our children in the preparation of passing our baton on to each of them. We hope it empowers them to go further, greater, and higher than us. We pray that in their race, they will multiply and create other disciples for the next generation.


"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.." ~Matthew 28:19 (NIV)

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