A discussion that’s come up recently with some friends has been the idea of “finishing well.”
When someone says, “I want to finish well,” I wonder how often they mean “I want to build a monument to my accomplishments”? This is probably because I’m naturally a bit pessimistic.
I guess the question that’s been coming to mind is—is that really what we’re called to do?
Do we want to “finish well” and try to protect our idea of what our legacy should be—and in the process see it crumble all around us?
Do we hold so tightly to our ideas of what we think our place in history should be that we fail to see it slipping through our fingers?
Do we spend so much time thinking of the perfect exit strategy that we don’t consider how we can prepare those coming after us?
Is that what we want our legacy to be?
Paul knew what it meant to finish well. He wrote to Timothy,
I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. . . . [A]lways be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.
For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing. (2 Tim 4:1-2,5-8)
Undeniably Paul speaks here of finishing well. “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith,” he writes. He persevered until the end.
But how do we know that he’s done all this? [Read more…]