In the 2004 & 2008 Olympics Women’s Relays, the American team lost because they failed to pass the baton well. All the team’s discipline, training and diet came down to 1.9 second pass in the exchange zone.
The way we carry the baton will determine the future of the Church.
Individual performance doesn’t matter. It’s the whole team. We have to pick up and pass on the baton. We have to ask ourselves, Is this about passing the baton, or me and my ego?
Joshua brought his people into the Promised Land, but failed to pass on the baton to the next generation.
The Israelites served the LORD throughout the lifetime of Joshua and the leaders who outlived him– those who had seen all the great things the LORD had done for Israel. Joshua son of Nun, the servant of the LORD, died at the age of 110. They buried him in the land he had been allocated… After that generation died, another generation grew up who did not acknowledge the LORD or remember the mighty things he had done for Israel.
— Judges 2:7-10 (NLT)
We fail by either dropping the baton or hanging on too long.
I “drop” the baton by failing to equip the next generation. Because they don’t have the necessary tools of faith, they have to start over.
I “hang on” by letting my insecurities keep me from welcoming the next generation.
How to Pass the Baton
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. — Hebrews 12:1-2 (NLT)
1. Remember the Cloud
If you forget those who’ve gone before, you’ll forget others will come after.
2. Lay aside our “weights and sins”
Deal with ourselves so we don’t pass it on. More is caught than taught
3. Run with Perseverance
We want the glory of Leg 4 of the relay, the glory of the Finish Line. But we haven’t earned the character gained in Legs 1-3. We want to bypass the process. But the process is how God makes us into leaders. If we bypass it, then our character isn’t sufficient to endure the responsibility.
We make excuses, imagine ourselves too good for “lower” positions of responsibility. We claim that it’s not in our giftings, doesn’t play to our strengths, not communicated in our love language.
The only love language is death. Dying to self. It’s Jesus in the garden. ‘Not my will, but yours.’
Talent and Anointing aren’t the same. It’s better to be marked by God than marketed by men.
4. Fixing our eyes on Jesus
Have we forgotten it’s the baton of faith that makers?