Finishing Well

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
Heb 12:1-3

I’ve been guilty of starting projects only to conclude I really wasn’t interested in finishing them. I don’t make a habit of doing that, yet I’m still glad it wasn’t something for which I could lose a grade or a reward. I must also admit there have been times in my Christian walk that I have wanted to just call it quits, times when I have been so discouraged or disappointed that I just wanted to walk away.  Then I remember Paul’s goal, “to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead”. Phil 3:10-11 and again, like Paul, I press on… Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Phil 3:13-14 I hope to finish well…

The following story from “1000 Quotes” illustrates “Finishing Well”

At 7 p.m. on October 20, 1968, a few thousand spectators remained in the Mexico City Olympic Stadium. It was cool and dark. The last of the marathon runners, each exhausted, were being carried off to first-aid stations. More than an hour earlier, Mamo Wolde of Ethiopia—looking as fresh as when he started the race—crossed the finish line, the winner of the 26-mile, 385-yard event.

As the remaining spectators prepared to leave, those sitting near the marathon gates suddenly heard the sound of sirens and police whistles. All eyes turned to the gate. A lone figure wearing number 36 and the colors of Tanzania entered the stadium. His name was John Stephen Akhwari. He was the last man to finish the marathon. He had fallen during the race and injured his knee and ankle. Now, with his leg bloodied and bandaged, he grimaced with each hobbling step around the 400-meter track.

The spectators rose and applauded him. After crossing the finish line, Akhwari slowly walked off the field. Later, a reporter asked Akhwari the question on everyone’s mind: “Why did you continue the race after you were so badly injured?”

He replied, “My country did not send me 7,000 miles to start the race. They sent me 7,000 miles to finish it.”

“Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us” Heb 12:1.

 

2 comments for “Finishing Well

  1. Jackie Ringler
    May 1, 2011 at 12:50 am

    For me, I know where I’ve been, and I don’t want to go back there, stops me from quitting. Isn’t there scripture that says if you keep looking back, you’re not fit for service? This story here reminds me when our small group went a little while ago to visit that north church, the man preached about a race also, where we are not constantly looking at the other racers to mess up our own race by keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, or measuring ourselves against them. That stuck in my mind and I’ve also been working on keeping my word. Thanks Janice.

    Hey Jackie, I appreciate your comment and I agree; I don’t want to ever return to the life I use to live. The scripture you are thinking of is Luke 9:62 Jesus replied, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”

  2. April 28, 2011 at 4:40 am

    I’m not an olympic fan, summer or winter, but I did like that story and used it a few years ago in a sermon. One of my goals in life was to finish well when I finally stopped preaching. I was able to do that after a very bitter “leaving” from another church position. Today, I just want to finish well. Period. And some days it’s more difficult than other days.

    Me too Greg, I want to finish well!

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