Saturday, December 29, 2007

Finishing Well

Like many sports fans, I watched the game tonight; the BIG game. And what a game it was! I was pleased with the intensity that both teams displayed, especially the Giants. Until the last quarter. It seemed they felt being ahead was good enough. It seemed like their passion melted into medicocrity. To be sure, they picked up the pace in the last 2.5 minutes. Sort of. Maybe. But the damage had been done. The clock ticked down. With one minute to go, Eli Manning made it interesting.

Sports historians and fans won't remember the losing team for long. They will remember the winning one, though. That is what we do; we remember winners.

The Giants could have been the team we remembered. If they had finished well, we would have remembered them. If those first 10 minutes of the fourth quarter had been played with the same passion as the rest of the game, then we would be talking about the Giants now.

That is what I want to do. I want to finish well. I don't just want to begin well; I want to end well. To be sure, I want that to happen about 40 years from now, or when Jesus returns--whichever comes first. It doesn't need to end today!

What does finishing well mean for me? It means preaching and teaching with more depth and understanding than I did last year. It means loving with more passion than ever. It means proclaiming the gospel with more urgency than I had as a young man.

For every Christian, finishing well means a greater intimacy with Jesus. It means being so in love with the Lord that we delight being in his presence more than anything else. It's not unlike Moses, when he sat in the niche in the rock on Mount Sinai as God passed by, showing him his glory. It is not unlike Enoc, who walked with God and one day just walked on into God's presence, where he remains to this day.

Maybe it's age I hear creeping up on me; but I find myself taking stock and paying more attention every year, every month, even most weeks. I want to be sure I finish well.

You can finish well, too. But to finish well you must begin well. You must begin with a repentant heart and with a faith placed in Jesus alone. After all, it is Jesus who died for your sin. It is Jesus who was buried and raised from the dead.

If you have placed your faith in anything else--say, a particular church, or keeping the commandments, or your own good works--then turn to Jesus now. Place your trust in him and call on him to be the Master and God of your life.

Begin well.

Live well.

Finish well.

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