In a recent podcast/sermon on hungering and thirsting for righteousness, R.C. Sproul used the game of football as a metaphor for life. Football players have a drive, a desire to get to their goal – the endzone. They fight, push, sprint, and plow their way to that goal. J.C. Ryle, in his book Holiness, also discusses this “goal” as a need for sanctification. Relating this striving toward a goal to the Christian life, Dr. Sproul talked about how so often Christians rest on their laurels after coming to saving faith in Christ, content in their relationship with God, and coasting through the rest of life. This isn’t the biblical model presented to us by Christ, Paul, and others. Jesus said that we need to “Seek first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matt 6:33). Hungering and thirsting after righteousness – striving to live a holy life – is to be a priority. Not in a legalistic, works-based salvation way, but it should flow from our love and faith in Christ and we should always desire more grace from the Holy Spirit. At the end of our lives we, like Paul, should be able to claim the crown of righteousness because we have “finished the race, kept the faith” (2 Tim 4:7). We should yearn for the day when we are greeted at heaven’s gates with the admonishment from the Lord, “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matt 25:23).
We had a chance to celebrate Papa Maclay’s life this past weekend (Elizabeth’s maternal grandfather). I wish I had a chance to get to know him more, because he was a great man. He earned a PhD from Yale, was a brilliant scientist (he received five patents), a great leader, a humble achiever, and a godly husband, father, and grandfather. But what struck me about him was his heart for the Lord. Even with all his earthly accomplishments and accolades, he counted it all loss for the sake of Christ. His eyes were fixed on his Lord and Savior throughout his life, and he rested not on his own merit or his talents, but only on the righteousness of Christ received through faith (Phi 3:7-9 were some of his favourite verses). He loved the Lord with all his heart, soul, and mind; and together with Mama and by the grace of God raised his family of five children and nine grandchildren in the Lord. He finished the race, he fought the good fight, and now he is wearing the crown of righteousness in glory.
I may have been around Papa Maclay only a handful of times, but he is an example to me of a godly man who lived for Christ, loved his family, knew where his treasure was stored, and hungered after righteousness. Well done, good and faithful servant.