“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” Hebrews 12:1
Throughout my lifetime I have heard people use the expression, “Finish well.” Mostly is has been in reference to the final finish, the end of one’s life. I can remember doing a concert for a church when I was somewhere in my mid-forties. When I finished what seemed to be a successful night, both musically and at the altar, the Pastor’s wife came up to me, looked me square in the eyes and said, “Rick, you are going to finish well.” I was both encouraged and petrified! I was already dealing with middle age; “Do I still have value? Am I still effective? And, what happened to my hair?” It almost seemed like a prophetic utterance of my impending demise.
It probably took months to shake off what I should have known in the first place: Finishing well is a daily hope. The future reward for finishing every day well is the cumulative effect of all those days lived for Christ adding up to the grand finale: The final finish and hearing the Master say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
“Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it.” 1 Corinthians 9:24
There is a prize for finishing well. Not a prize from competing with others, but a prize based on what we have been given and what we have chosen to do with it. It’s our race, and although others are in the race, it’s between us and God. To me, the others in our personal race are the distractions that can slow us down. Whether it’s other people or other thing. Will they win, or will we? By God’s power working in and through us we need to choose to persevere and come out not only ahead, but also with God’s great approval.
We’ve all heard the term “personal best”, and the Army slogan, “Be All That You Can Be.” It’s about us developing and nurturing the things God has entrusted to us. Whether it’s our gifts and talents or the people in our lives or in our path; what we do with these things is the true measure of who we are.
Remember, we are loved by God unconditionally, yet to steward what we have been given and to take seriously our calling and mission is to please God at another level. We have been given a gift, a free gift. It doesn’t end there; this incredible gift is just the beginning. I’m always reminded of the familiar scripture that says, “Faith without works is dead.” Our personal faith is completed when we transition to heaven, but we leave a legacy behind to encourage others in their journey.
Our personal faith is completed when we transition to heaven, but we leave a legacy behind to encourage others in their journey.
We all know what the word legacy means but rarely think about it when we are young. It’s only when we become more concerned with doing things that are significant and have lasting impact does legacy move from lower case to backlit bold caps. While we as believers are promised eternity, we only have our appointed time here on earth. The Word compares our life to a vapor, here . . . then gone. (James 4:14 NKJV). Scriptures like these have more meaning as life progresses. Remember when you were a kid and 50 seemed unfathomably old? Well, there will come a day for many of us when we are decades beyond that. Some will wish they could go back in time, while others will still feel and have the ambition of a 30 year old. May the latter be true for us because of our living Christ and the Word of hope that’s written on our hearts.
I pray for myself and all of us that God will fill us with His strength and keep our eyes fixed on Him. That He points us always in the direction that leads to our ordained path and that He would help us finish each day well, starting with today, and finishing with the grand sum of a life well lived for Him and those we love.