Finishing Strong

In His most humble moment, Jesus prayed to His Father and said, “I have finished the work which you have given me to do.” (John 17:4) Jesus knew why He came and stared true to that purpose. The Apostle Paul wrote, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Tim. 4:7). Finishing the Race is the key to life!

This past weekend I watched one of the most entertaining yet frustrating ending to a football game that I can remember. The New England Patriots were leading the Miami Dolphins 33-28 with a mere 7 seconds on the game clock when the unthinkable happened. The Dolphins miraculously went 69 yards to beat the Patriots when the quarterback took a shotgun snap from his own 31and threw a quick pass then lateraled the weaved their way into the end zone leaving the Patriots stunned and confused. The ending of that game reminded me that the end of the game is as important as the beginning and middle.

As you and I come to the end of another year, it is important to remember that we must finish strong. While it is tempting to slow down and take a gentle stroll toward the end of this year, our scriptural mandate is to do just the opposite. The writer of Hebrews admonishes us:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.

(Hebrews 12:1)

The constant theme of scripture is for us to stay engaged in the race that God has set before us. Everything we do, everyday is a part of the journey. It is imperative for us to continue to cultivate the culture that has been described all year by the 3G’s of grace, generosity, and gratitude. Let me encourage you during the last days of 2018 to make a wholehearted determined commitment to touch all those in your spheres of influence. As you reach out to those around you stay

Be Generous with your time, your talents, and your treasures. Listen a little longer, ask a few more questions, and give words of encouragement to them all. Celebrate the victories, and cultivate the mistakes and remember, Yesterday is Over and Tomorrow is Overrated.

Stay Grateful for all these people who are in your life. You are a sum of the people who have poured into you. You would not be in the position you are in today without all that “huge crowd of witnesses” that the verse just talked about. Being grateful is not an event or activity it is a determined choice moment-by-moment, day-by-day. Always remind the people around you how grateful you are for them.

Above all else, let’s show grace to the people who mean so very much to us. We all struggle with what this really means, but let’s just agree that it means to be courteous, polite, kind and thoughtful to those around us. It is not always demanding to be noticed and acknowledged. It means looking out for what is best of them.

I pray that we will all end this year better than we began. Back in January I encouraged you to face the year with Faith, Focus, and Forgiveness and I trust we all did, but now I want to challenge you to end the year with a heart of gratitude that is fully generous, and unashamedly gracious. Let’s all finish strong so that we like Jesus can say, “I have finished the work which you have given me to do.” (John 17:4)