Who wants to come to the end of something and say, “Oops!” Or, “I really messed up!” Or, “If only I had….” Whether you are talking about closing out an event, a career, a year, a life or a chapter in your life, you want to glance back over your shoulder and see that you finished well.
Years ago, an author/speaker challenged me to consider my birthdate and the reality of my end date. Then he said, “What are you going to do with the middle?” He went on to say that no matter how you start, be determined to finish well.
Six things to know about finishing well:
Finishing well is possible for every follower of Christ.
You can rest in knowing that the Father wills us to finish well.
One reason finishing well is possible is because the standard of our success is not our family of origin, language or any other unchangeable. Nor is God’s measure of success determined by financial status, ability, giftedness, education or influence.
God’s standard of measurement is obedience. Faithful obedience to Christ in all things is the possibility and potential for every believer.
At every juncture of life a believer needs to take inventory and ask, “Am I faithfully obedient to Christ? Even as I finish a project or my life, am I faithfully obedient to Him in all things?”
To finish well in the future, start with today.
Our flesh is naturally bent toward procrastination. Finishing well is rarely the result of a final sprint at the end.
Instead, finishing well is the result of a multitude of faithful decisions every day to make a difference in the future. How do you start a journey of faith? One step at a time.
To finish well requires surrender to His lordship.
This is a powerful step every believer must make. Who will be the Lord of your life?
Someone or something will be the primary basis for your decisions in life. If you choose to please others, you will eventually feel defrauded because people are imperfect. It is part of our humanness.
Through surrender to the lordship of Christ, His identity transcends all our failures and we find rest in the purposes of God, the Eternal One.
If you choose to live by what the Scriptures call “vain philosophies,” no matter how sincerely you believe, you have served the wrong god. There is but one Lord and His name is Jesus.
To finish well means marshaling all our assets to accomplish His purposes.
If your driving passion is to accumulate stuff or to live a life of ease, you miss the greater riches of life.
The challenge of the Lord Jesus was for us to be stewards (managers) of His Kingdom. That means God’s blessing on my finances gives me the opportunity to bless His Kingdom and His people.
When we manage well, He prospers our assets more. In His economy, which transcends the world currencies, our character, integrity and testimony of faith have greater value than anything else.
The remaining question is when the heavenly auditors take an inventory of your life, what does it show? Does it show an investment in His purposes or an allegiance to this world?
To finish well, pour your life into the lives of others.
When Jesus told the story about the man on the Jericho road and the Samaritan who cared for him, He wasn’t telling the story to fill a vacuum. His purpose was to challenge the prejudices of people and to demonstrate the power of serving others even when they are different from us.
He further demonstrated this life principle in the upper room when He took a towel, wrapped it around His waist and began to wash the disciples’ feet.
The Lord has placed someone in need within the influence of every believer. It is easy to become so busy with life that we do not see the precious lives we can serve in Jesus’ name. Take a pause and participate in one of the most rewarding opportunities in life — serving others.
To finish well, put your past in the rearview mirror.
Too many people are emotionally crippled by what happened to them in the past. Our best hope to overcome the plague of the past is to release it to Jesus.
Daily, I must face whatever has wounded me and mentally take whatever “it” is out of my heart and place it in my hands. Then, I must visualize nailing “it” to the cross of Calvary. Jesus dealt with “it” through His death on the cross and “it” was buried with Him so that I can walk in His resurrection power today. Hallelujah!
Published in the Missouri Pathway and Baptist Press.