I remember my first triathlon. Ok, it was my only triathlon. I wasn’t competing in it; I was a volunteer. I was leading a group of single adults from Council Road Baptist Church in Bethany, Oklahoma in an effort to support the Lake Placid Baptist Church in New York as it provided volunteer coordination for the “Ironman Triathlon”. The church ministered by providing volunteers for the many sporting events in its small town,made famous when it hosted the Winter Olympics in 1980–when we still “believed in miracles, at least on an ice rink” (There was a great article about the church and its ministry posted by Baptist Press posted Feb. 20, 2020 by Tim Ellsworth).
We arrived the week of the event and did all sorts of things like manning an information booth (which was a blast as people expected us to be locals pointing out the best cafes and attractions of which we had no clue) to cleaning the timing chips that go on the ankles of the athletes. Did I mention they don’t take potty breaks during the race? We also served at the pre-race high-carb dinner (finally something I did well).
However, the most memorable moment came when I was helping an athlete at check-in. I was volunteering at the bike station when I made the mistake of reaching to take his bike. Just as my fingers touched the seat, the guy unloaded on me verbally with a distinctively non-southern accent. He said something about how dare I, and I did not know how expensive that bike was, and several other adjectives and other descriptive language I choose not to mention here.
I was taken aback by his aggressiveness, but I was more taken aback the following day. You see, the bike portion takes place after the swim portion of the race and before the run. The time in transition between events in the exchange area is highly critical to their final result. I just happened to be in the transition zone when I saw him literally throw his bike to the ground and quickly change shoes before exiting the area. I don’t even think he saw where his bike landed.
Imagine less than 24-hours later his most prized position was tossed to the side in a rush to leave it in the dirt. I think that is the way it will be when Jesus calls us home. All of the stuff we have spent so much time, energy and money longing for, saving for, enjoying, and protecting will all be tossed aside.
We do need to make sure someone will come along and benefit from it, (I am sure the athlete had a person designated to retrieve the bike) which is why we help people with their estate plans. If you don’t have an up-to-date estate plan you should call the Missouri Baptist Foundation. But, the resurrection is about another and better estate plan. Jesus reminded his friends that in His Father’s house there are many mansions, (estates) and He has gone to prepare one for each of us.
As you celebrate Easter, whether in church or in a shelter-in-place position at home, the empty tomb is the assurance of a better estate plan that will last forever.