2 Timothy 4:6-8

As for me, I am already being poured out as a libation, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. From now on there is reserved for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have longed for his appearing. 2 Timothy 4:6-8

The Houston Texans played a pretty pathetic football game last night. I got home late so I watched the game on tape. Usually that is the best way to watch a football game because you can fast forward through the commercials. Last night it was a blessing to fast forward through the game.

But hope springs eternal in football and life. The first half came to a merciful close. The promise of the second half teased me until it actually started and things only got worse. One last fumble. One last field goal. The game was over and it was awful. But there’s always next week.

In this passage from 2 Timothy, Paul shares his thoughts as he sees the end zone drawing near. He is writing, not to ring his own bell but to encourage Timothy. And us. He encourages us to finish well. To finish what God has started in us. To keep keeping on until the end.

Bob Buford is a Texas business leader whose life journey eventually took him to founding The Halftime Institute, what he calls the “university for the second life.” He has written a series of books about moving from what he calls Life 1 (the search for success) to Life 2 (the search for significance.) I stumbled into his stuff in my own life journey as I realized, at age 55, that I am actually now in my 50’s. I am living the thought process that led Paul to write these words to Timothy.

My daughter ran a 10k race this past weekend. When it was done she texted me to let me know how she finished. More importantly, she let me know how good she felt about how she finished. She gave it her best and she finished her best. In our text exchanges, she shared how she still uses some of the ideas that I gave her a long time ago. Ideas (did I mention I am in my 50’s) that I have no memory of sharing. That has something to do with the heart of significance, passing on our experience in ways that benefit others.

Whether it be a successful business person who comes to the realization that there is more to life than the next deal, or a parent who realizes that their impact on the world, for good or ill, passes on through the life of their children, or a married person who finally comes to know that their impact on the world is nothing if they are not making a positive difference in the life of their spouse, or a religious leader like Paul sharing his thoughts with a younger leader – we all come to time in our lives when we realize we have reached yet another new corner. Will we step up or will we sit down? Will we finish well or just quit while we are ahead?

Hopefully in moments like this we remember that God is actually the author of our story. We aren’t alone, and not only it isn’t just about us, it isn’t completely up to us. God is there with us as God has always been. The Holy Spirit is the guide that Jesus promised to give to his disciples. Including us. We won’t win every battle but God has already won the war. We won’t win every game but every win and every loss shapes us and opens the door to new learning, to new discovering, to new equipping.

Let us pray: Gracious Lord, help us finish well. Encourage us today to see in our daily activities your hands guiding, comforting, teaching, and challenging us to be the best person that we can be for the other people whom we serve and seek to help. We’re in the race; help us finish strong. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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