To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings. Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified. 1 Cor. 9:22-27
A few weeks ago a 53 year old Christian lady died of Breast cancer. Her name was Michelle Wolfer. She was a preschool teacher, an art teacher and an avid marathon runner. Four of my grandchildren and hundreds of other children benefited from her teaching and strong Christian witness in the classroom.
She took all the treatments and whenever possible was back in the classroom – even during her 18 months of battling the cancer. She ran with determination, taught with determination and lived with determination. A determination that was powered and sustained by the Holy Spirit! She actually ran/walked and completed the New York marathon just before Thanksgiving. The doctor would not allow her to return to the classroom in December and the first part of January.
The pastor noted in the sermon the devastating effect of the cancer. It took almost everything from Michelle. Her ability to run, her opportunity to teach – her hair – her overall strength. The operative word is ALMOST -it could not take away her faith or the promise given in her baptism. God sustained her – He was with her always as He had promised. She finished her course – she was faithful unto death and has now inherited eternal life.
She understood the words of Psalm 55:22, “Cast your burden on the LORD, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.” She took the words of Isaiah to heart and to the classroom, “The Lord GOD has given me the tongue of those who are taught, that I may know how to sustain with a word him who is weary. Morning by morning he awakens; he awakens my ear to hear as those who are taught.” Isa_50:4
May each of us by God’s grace be sustained all the days of our lives and may we as Michelle, faithfully “pass the baton” to those who come after us! As we minister to show our care we always do so with the certain knowledge of our human frailty and of the ultimate strength and victory of Jesus Christ!