Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it
may be matched by your completion of it, according to your means.
For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to
what one has, not according to what he does not have.
2 Corinthians 8:11-12
We all remember the advice our parents gave us about doing a job right or not doing it at all. Whether it’s baking a pie or launching a new corporation, any job worth doing is worth completing well. A life full of half-finished projects is rarely very satisfying to anyone.
College freshmen are often confused about which course of study to follow, where to spend their extra time, and what degree they want to achieve. Most of them sort these things out so that, on graduation day, their parents and grandparents can beam with pride at their success because they finished well.
As we reach the later stages of life, many of our daily jobs are completed. Whether we reared a family, held down a job, or both, with retirement those jobs are done. Yet through our attitudes and actions, we can still endeavor to finish well the course set before us now.
For some of us, finishing well on a daily basis means going to bed with no regrets about how we spent the day. We’ve communicated with those we want to thank, we’ve shared a smile or extended a hand of friendship, we’ve been gracious and patient with those around us, and so the day ends well. A string of such days becomes a life well lived—a life that finishes well, and honors God in the process. Of course the true definition of finishing well is to leave this earth secure in the knowledge that we are moving on to eternal life through Christ Jesus.
Finishing well in life has more to do with our spiritual condition than any physical achievements. Whatever obstacles are in our way, God urges us to keep the faith and one day to finish well and receive “the crown of righteousness.”
A dearly loved older woman confided to a visitor during the last days of her life that she felt like she was leaving behind “a suitcase full of old tissues.” Although she had lived a remarkable life, been a well-respected teacher, author, wife, mother and grandmother, something felt unfinished to her. Surely when she got to heaven she discovered that whatever she felt she had left undone didn’t really matter at all, because she truly did finish well in the sense that she died with the blessed assurance that she was going to be with the Lord.
Finishing well has less to do with success by the world’s standards and more to do with where we are in our relationship to God. It’s more about purity of heart and a clear conscience than about a hefty investment portfolio or long list of awards and achievements. We are able to finish well when we have told the people we love that we love them, when we have generously given of our time and energy to others, and when we are at peace with our eternal destination through acceptance of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Faithfulness and obedience to God are His keys to finishing well. If we can truly be available for God to use us for His purposes, then we will know true success.
Like Jesus, who gave us the best example of finishing well, we can rest in the knowledge that, when our life on earth is over, we still have eternity to spend with God. While we want to finish our time here well, the most remarkable aspect of finishing well in God’s kingdom is that once we do, we are really just beginning!
Join the conversation by adding your comments below.
What are you doing so you can finish well?
by Nancey Brummette
Nancy Parker Brummett first led a Bible study in an assisted living setting in 1999 and she and the Lord developed The Hope of Glory in the years that followed. She also journeyed with her mother and mother-in-law through their adventures in aging, and her academic interest in aging led her to receive the Professional Certificate of Gerontology from the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs. The author of four other books, she now focuses her writing and speaking ministries on her passion for older adults and those who care for them. To learn more about Nancy’s life and work or to subscribe to her blog on aging issues, Take My Hand Again, visit her website.