“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”
—2 Timothy 4:7
One of my favorite Bible verses is 2 Timothy 4:7, which says, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” When I pass on from this world, I would like the epitaph on my tombstone to simply be: 2 Timothy 4:7. I hope that’s a long time in coming, but I want to live this life in a way that when I “finish the race” people can say that I fought the good fight and kept the faith. Even if people don’t think it when I am gone, I hope I will leave this world believing that.
When I come up against people who disagree with my way of life, ethics, philosophy, and faith, I think of Matthew 7:13-14, “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” I know that I have not always fit into the crowd, and quite honestly, it’s alright as long as I remain faithful to who I am and have remained on the narrow path. remained on the narrow path.
I spent many years of my life hiding who I was. I hid in the closet because that was the path of least resistance, and I was trying to be part of the crowd and fit in. However, over the years, I have learned that accepting and loving myself is far more important than being accepted and loved by everyone. The Dutch writer and theologian Henri J.M. Nouwen said, “You don’t think your way into a new kind of living. You live your way into a new kind of thinking.”
In Star Trek, Spock was always fond of saying the Vulcan philosophy, “Logic clearly dictates that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.” However, minority rights would always be trampled upon if this were true. Under this philosophy, we would be forced to remain in the closet because the beliefs (which some people confuse with needs) of the many would outweigh the few. This week, I watched the Star Trek homage, The Orville, and Dolly Parton made a guest appearance. In the episode, one of the characters knows that if she does one thing to save the life of another, then a great many people will suffer. Dolly gives her some advice (and I am paraphrasing), “If you do the right thing now, the rest will sort itself out later.”
Matthew 5:12 says, “Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” If we do the right thing now, no matter how unpopular or misunderstood it may be, we will receive our reward, and if we continually do the right thing, then we will have earned the epitaph, “2 Timothy 4:7.”