Finish Well

It’s the bottom of the ninth inning of a World Series game, and from the bullpen comes “The Closer,” the flame-throwing pitcher whose job it is to shut down the other team’s bats and secure the win. 40,000 fans hope he finishes well.

Under Friday night lights across the United States, teenage boys buried under shoulder pads and helmets hold up four fingers as the clock resets to 12:00 signaling the start of the final quarter of play. For them, no matter what has happened up to this point on the gridiron, they must finish well.

Long distance runners battle their minds as much as their bodies as they push through mile after mile. Most are not in the chase to win the prize. Most just long to finish well. They want to run across the finish line hands held high. They have survived the cramps, the foot pain, the hunger and thirst, and the thoughts encouraging quitting.

Paul wrote, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith (2 Tim. 4:7).” Now at the end of his life, his estimation of self is “I finished well.”

Some might find Paul’s words intimidating, and they wonder how they could ever make such a claim, let alone arrive at such a point. As the saying goes, to accomplish big things accomplish little things.

An eighty-year-old lives more than 29,000 days, but he only lives one day at a time. A person who finishes today well is on track to finish life well.

  • The semester is long, so finish well today the tasks of a student.
  • Raising children takes a lot of years, so finish well today the leading of those children toward our Lord.
  • Retirement, promotion, and the next pay raise are on the distant horizon, so finish well today “whatever it is your hand finds to do” in the workplace God has for you.
  • Overcoming a stubborn and sinful habit feels like a fight to the death with great victories one moment and devastating failures the next, so finish well today by fleeing the next temptation to return to a rotten place.
  • Growing old together as a married couple is the fancy of every young bride and groom, so finish well today your vows made to each other before God.

There are only a handful of hours left in today. How will the day end for you? I hope you finish today well and hear from our Lord today what you long to hear from him when you see him in heaven, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

As always I welcome your feedback and any suggestions you might have for an upcoming Lunchtime Musing.