April 1, 2020

Pastoral Nuggets: Finishing Well

Today’s column is the final column in a series of three I have written regarding how as Christians we can be successful in 2020.

The first was entitled: He Fights. The second was entitled: He Forgives. I hope you will be blessed by today’s column, entitled: “Finishing Well.”

I suppose there comes a time in everybody’s life when we realize we are not infinite. None of us are permanent fixtures!

In fact, I often tell people that we are like a gallon of milk purchased at the grocery store – we all come with an expiration date! The reality of my life is that if life were a “horse race,” and I’m a horse in that race, I’ve rounded the far pole, am on the backstretch, and headed for the finish line!

If it were a “football game,” while I hope I’m not at the two-minute warning – I am in the fourth quarter. I realize there are more days behind me now than are left in front of me! And when a person reaches this point in life, their focus shifts from “being the best at everything” to just “finishing well!” And I can honestly say that this is my greatest desire now, to simply finish well!

In the Bible, in the book of 2nd Chronicles, chapters 14 & 16, we find the story of King Asa of Judah. He went into battle against King Zerah of Ethiopia. Asa had 580,000 Mighty Men of Valor while Zerah had a fighting force of a million men. Asa was outnumbered two to one. Yet, he cried to God for help and engaged Zerah in the battle.

Asa was a lean mean fighting machine who leaned upon God – and won! What a start! Yet later on in his life, (during the time of the divided kingdom) this same Asa was threatened by Baasha, King of Israel – and he wouldn’t even fight! He invoked a treaty with Benhadad, King of Syria, took money from the church treasury to pay him, and had Benhadad fight for him.

The Bible says that Asa died in the 39th year of his reign – from a disease in his feet.  The Bible says, “…yet in his disease he sought not to the LORD, but to the physicians.”  He would not even pray to God! I think it’s safe to say that Asa started well – but finished poorly!

Today I want to examine two keys for finishing well:

First, whatever you endeavor to do, always start with the end in mind. When my boys would drag young ladies home telling me, “Dad, I think she’s the one,” I’d tell them, “You better go look at her momma!  That’s what you’ll have in forty years! Boy, begin with the end in mind!” Andy Stanley says, “In life, everybody winds up somewhere.  A few people wind-up somewhere on purpose!” Sadly, most Christians and most churches are content to be wherever life takes them. Wherever they are – is where they are.  They have no plan. They have no purpose. They have no vision. They are blown like a leaf in the wind. Mediocrity is perfectly acceptable to them. And they do NOT finish well!  Listen to me, QUALITY ALWAYS ATTRACTS – MEDOCRITY BREEDS INDIFFERENCE! Those who finish well – are those who see the vision – and act upon the vision!

Secondly, correctly assess your current situation and make the necessary course corrections.  Did you know that jet planes and ocean-going ships have Global Positioning Systems in them that constantly check their destination against their current position and make the necessary course corrections?  You see, the Jet Stream and the Gulf Stream are constantly trying to push the plane or boat off course. The GPS is constantly questioning, “What is my destination, where on planet earth am I right now, and what course corrections do I need to make to ensure I finish well?”

As Christians, as we embark upon 2020, I pray that each of us will embrace these three simple truths that will help us be successful:  We must fight. We must forgive. And we must finish well!

Brother Aaron 

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