“Well done, good and faithful servant.” That’s what we all want to hear when we see Jesus face to face. Many of us have been working toward that goal for many years, while others have just started the journey. But no matter the good intentions we all start with, finishing the race of life well can’t be taken for granted. It’s not how you start, but how you finish.
This was the introductory paragraph in a recent Listening Guide provided by Kingdom Advisors on the topic of Finishing Well, presented by Howard Dayton. Our Financial Planning team participates in a monthly study group through Kingdom Advisors and would like to share the learnings and insights from this recent session.
Howard began the session indicating that there are 2,930 people mentioned in the Bible, and we know details of how about 100 of them finished. Of those 100 people, only about 1/3 of them finished well. Most who failed did so in the second half of life. A great example of those that finished well is our Saviour, Jesus Christ. In John 17:4, Jesus says “I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you have me to do.” Another example is Paul, in Acts 20:24 we read “But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.”
So, the following question was asked - What are you doing to become the one in three who finishes well?
As noted above, it’s not how you start that matters, but how you finish. To finish well, Howard mentions the following:
- Be intentional and have spiritual discipline.
- Endurance determines whether you will finish strong and endurance is a by-product of godly character.
- The Christian life is a marathon, not a 100-yard dash.
Solomon was referenced as someone that started well but failed miserably in the second half of life. He made good choices early but became disobedient and refused to follow the Lord. Deuteronomy 17 stated three things he must not do:
- He must not acquire a great number of horses for himself. But Solomon had 12,000 horses from Egypt.
- He must not accumulate large amounts of silver and gold for himself. But Solomon did accumulate large amounts of silver and gold for himself.
- He must not take many wives, or his heart would be led astray. But Solomon had more than 700 wives, and they did lead him astray.
The consequences were disastrous for Solomon, his family, and the nation of Israel.
- Finishing well does not mean finishing with a perfect record; learn from your mistake. Many of those that finished well were guilty of terrible decisions. For example, Abraham lied, Moses committed murder, David was an adulterer and a murderer, Peter denied Christ three times and Paul was a persecutor of the early church. In Philippians 3:13-14, Paul says “But one thing I do: 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.”
A second question was asked – What is your vision and strategy to finish well?
In Charting Your Legacy, a small group study (learn more at www.chartingyourlegacy.org), Howard Dayton poses the following questions for consideration to assist those reflecting on how to finish well:
- Is God pleased with how I use my resources?
- How much is enough?
- How much do I leave my children and grandchildren?
- What limits should I set on my lifestyle?
- How can I learn to be content?
- How much should I give?
- Does my spouse understand our finances?
In our study, Howard highlighted that the most common reasons followers of Christ do not finish well are:
- A distorted view of retirement – Western culture thinks of retirement as a life of leisure; however, the Bible does not endorse this view of retirement. Age shouldn’t stop us from finishing the work God has called us to accomplish. The type or intensity may change as we grow older. Howard shared this quote from John Piper – “Years of leisure – resting, playing and traveling. The mindset of our peers is that we must reward ourselves now in this life for our years of labour. But what a strange reward for a Christian to set his sights on while living in the midst of millions of people faced with an eternity separated from Christ. What a tragic way to finish our last mile before entering the presence of the King who finished his last mile so differently.”
- Not being involved in a mentoring relationship – David Wills (National Christian Foundation) recommends three levels of mentoring and encourages pursuing at least two of the following mentoring relationships:
a. Someone more mature to mentor us
b. A peer mentor
c. A young person to mentor
How to find a mentoring relationship:
• Pray for the Lord to bring the right person
• Limit search to those who are sincere about pursuing Christ
• Seek those whose company you enjoy
• Avoid those you couldn’t trust with confidentiality
Marital dysfunction – In Ephesians 5:25, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” Howard encourages men to view every request from your wife as an opportunity to serve her. For wives, intentionally create that irresistible sanctuary at home where your husband will be thrilled to come and be with you. For both, he encourages husbands and wives to ask the Lord, as you submit yourself to Him, for Him to love your spouse through you.
As we run the race for Christ, we trust the above will provide encouragement and reflection to run with endurance, reach the finish line, and finish well. In conclusion, we encourage you to reflect on the following passage “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:1-2)
Howard Dayton is the author of Your Money Counts. Christian Credit Union has 25 copies of this book available to our members. Please reach out to us and request your free copy at email@example.com. While supplies last.
For more information on Kingdom Advisors, please check out www.kingdomadvisors.com.
Tuesday | May 18, 08:41 AM