Finishing Well

startThere are 2,300 people mentioned in the Bible and 100 are prominent figures. Of those 100, only 1/3 finished well. Regarding the 2/3 that failed to finish well, most of them faltered in the last 1/2 of life.

When I look at many people older than me, I see the same trend with many struggling physically, mentally & spiritually. Many seem to have given up on aging gracefully and are just surviving, waiting for their last day to arrive. Many, unfortunately, have even given up on any kind of service to God, though they served Him fervently for much, if not all, of their younger years. “Let the younger ones do the work now,” they say. They are, at the moment, failing to finish well in the last 1/2 of life.

For much of my life, I dreaded growing older because I just didn’t see any older person who aged gracefully. All I saw were people getting more miserable with each passing day, and I knew I wanted no part of getting older if that’s what it was like.

Thankfully, my view of getting older changed in recent years as it is now being shaped by a few individuals who are aging gracefully. They serve God with increasing fervency. They possess joy, wisdom and peace that seems to come from a lifelong process of sanctification, an increasing intimacy with God that becomes immediately obvious in their presence. They still have struggles, but they never lose their focus on Christ. Their faith shines even in the toughest of times. And that, I want.

Likewise, there are that 1/3 of the 100 prominent who still serve as examples of how to finish well. I’m thankful for their example too. Combine the examples of people I know with those I read about, and I’m believing that I too can finish well.

How to Finish Well

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When I run in organized races, people I don’t even know cheer me on. Other runners cheer me on too. I also find myself encouraged by the others who finish the race and then go back down the course to cheer on other runners. And even though I know none of these people, I’m encouraged just to be told, “Keep going! Don’t quit. You’re almost there.”

The race of my faith life is also cheered on by people I don’t know, those who have gone before me and finished well. It’s encouraged by those running the race with, though a bit ahead, me too. My running is fueled by the words of Scripture acknowledging that the race is difficult but that finishing well is more than possible.

  1. Fight the good fight. Keep the faith. Cross the finish line. (2 Timothy 4:7)
  2. Complete the task Jesus gives you to do. (Acts 20:24)
  3. Discipline yourself & make sure what you teach matches how you live all the way to the finish line. (1 Corinthians 9:24)
  4. Endure to the end. (Hebrews 12:1)
  5. Stay qualified through the end. (Colossians 1:10-14 & 1 Corinthians 9:24)
  6. Let Christ complete His work in you. (Philippians 1:6)
  7. Stay confident. (Hebrews 10:35)
  8. Live forward, not backward. (Philippians 3:12-16)

To me, these Scriptures say, “Keep going. Don’t quit. You’re almost there.” They, along with the stories of the 1/3 who did finish well and those running just ahead of me today, encourage and cheer me on daily. They fuel my determination to finish well and to refuse to join the ranks of those who, in the last 1/2 of life wax and wane into average at best and flat out failure at worst.

DISCUSSION: What individual from the Bible do you think is the best example of finishing well and why? What motivates you to follow the advice listed above on how to finish your life well?

14 thoughts on “Finishing Well

  1. Very encouraging. I pray to resemble the message as I enter the winter of my life. (But I thank God that I still feel not a day older than early fall!) Yes, never quit! Never give in, up, or out! Live today with a focus on tomorrow. Amen

  2. I want to be like Elijah and go out on a chariot (bicycle) ! I want to be like Paul who said, "I ran, I finished, I kept." I want to live each day of my life to its fullest and leave behind a legacy of finished and unfinished work. Finished because I was faithful. Unfinished for someone else to take up the mantle.
    My recent post Hydration

    • I'm with you, Bill! Well said. My husband bought me a necklace charm set for my birthday, and one reads, "Never give up" and the other "Perseverance." I want to keep this idea of finishing well in the forefront of my mind. Reading about the Biblical greats helps tremendously in this goal.

    • Paul & Daniel are definitely good examples. I think I did know that about Daniel, but I had forgotten and certainly not applied it here. Another excellent point! (Good to have you back in the blogging mix too, by the way.)

  3. Kari,
    This is an encouraging post. I want to be one who finishes well in all things I do. I see the benefit of cheering others on as well. I'm going to keep in mind when I finish the next race I run in to go back down the course to cheer others on that have not finished yet.
    We all need people who encourage. We all need to be ones who do so.

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