No one starts off on a journey, a project, a relationship without the intention of finishing well. Yet so many times, things get in the way and soon we look back at our lives and count too many “loose ends,” unfinished projects and failing relationships. What is the secret of starting well and finishing well? Statistics yield a discouraging record on this front. Some research indicates 40 percent of folks who start well in their journey with God do not finish well. If this is the case, then we need to pay close attention to what we are doing or not doing.
Paul in his call to partnership in the Gospel with the Philippians (our theme for this year) makes it clear he intends to finish well, “forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (3:13-14). For Paul, a key to finishing well is to imitate good examples (Phil 3:17). You and I are called to imitate Christ, the ultimate example to One who finished well.
Setting the right priorities: living in light of the end
Even God’s appointed servants have a checkered history on this front. In the book of the lives of the kings of Judah (1-2 Chronicles), we have powerful examples of kings who finished well, and of kings who do not finish well (Jesus’ royal ancestry; see Matthew 1:6-11). Maybe we can learn a thing or two from their successes and failures and apply some of the lessons to our own lives. David’s commitment to the Lord, Solomon’s wisdom, Rehoboam’s foolishness, Jehoshaphat’s faith yet filled with compromises, Uzziah’s pride, Manasseh’s repentance, Ahaz’ stubborness, Josiah’s zeal for the Lord, etc. As we learn from their examples, let’s commit to being on the right side of these statistics. As partners in the Gospel we want Jesus to say to us: ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master’ (Matthew 25:23).
We’re going to see how the book of Chronicles brings valuable wisdom and insight into our lives today. Questions that we will be tackling during this sermon series include:
- Do we struggle to live our lives to the fullest? How might we heed the call to finish the race well (2 Tim 4:7-8)?
- How do we worship God with our whole heart in an age of competing interests?
- How do we seek the Lord amidst busyness and distractions?
- How do we learn from our heroes and role models in the faith, both from the pages of scripture and from our lives today?
The key to finishing well is building up Jesus’ legacy, not our own.
The failures of certain Kings came about when they began focusing on building up their own legacy instead of the legacy of God. The same can be said for us. When we focus on our own “kingdoms” it is easy to forget that we really do all our work for the one true King, Jesus. It’s Jesus’ legacy we want to make great, by his Grace and by his Spirit.