February 9, 2014
READ: 2 Timothy 4:1-8
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful (v.7).
Finishing well. It’s an idea we typically reserve for those approaching the last few years of life. But as a wise, older man (now with Jesus) once pointed out to me, finishing well is not simply for the elderly. In fact, it’s the choices we make now—years before we say our final goodbyes—that will help determine how we complete our years on earth.
The apostle Paul was a man who finished well. In his last days he was arrested and sentenced to death for boldly proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ. Knowing the end of his life was at hand, Paul wrote these words to Timothy, a young man he had mentored: “As for me, my life has already been poured out as an offering to God. The time of my death is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. And now the prize awaits me—the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on the day of his return” (2 Timothy 4:6-8).
To Paul, finishing well began long before he wrote his final words. It commenced more than 30 years earlier, after his personal encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:1-9).
The years after Paul’s dramatic conversion were not easy. The book of Acts tells us that he encountered shipwrecks, beatings, prison time, religious opposition, painful personal conflicts and more. But, by God’s power and strength, he finished the task he started as he travelled throughout the Roman Empire (20:22-24). He said, “My life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus” (v.24).
Take it from Paul, the time for finishing well doesn’t start at the end. It begins now! —Jeff Olson
Read Acts 20:24 and note the second half of the verse. How are you living out what Paul was striving to do?
What are some things you need to change in order to finish well for Jesus? How did He model what it means to truly finish well?