I regularly read Bill Hybels. He challenges and inspires me. I wanted to pass along these end of the year thoughts: Many years ago I studied the passages in the gospels concerning the hours just before Jesus died His redeeming death. What struck me at the time was how committed Jesus was to “finishing well.” It began when He forgave those who pounded spikes into His hands and feet. Do you remember His words? “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”
I am quite sure that had I been in that same situation, I would have been far less charitable. Later while suffering terribly, He had the presence of mind to make provision for His mother’s care. Soon after that, He said to the repentant thief, “Today you will be with me in Paradise.” With His final gasp of breath, He managed to choke out the words, “It is finished.” He had achieved the redemptive mission heaven had assigned to Him.
After my brief study of Jesus’ final hours, I wrote these words in my journal: “Someday I am going to stand in the presence of this Finisher—Someone who put on a clinic of righteous and charitable living all the way to His dying breath.” Immediately after writing that sentence, it was obvious to me that I wanted to be a finisher, too. I added: “I want to be someone who stays strong to the very end of every task or mission God assigns to me. I want to finish projects and assignments well. I want to finish my ministry well because someday I am going to stand and give an account of my life in front of the best finisher of all time—Jesus Christ.”
You may know where I am headed with this final enews of 2012. All of us are coming down to the final days of this calendar year, and we have two basic choices in how to look at these remaining hours. We can blow them off or we can attempt to “finish well.”
What would “finishing well” look like? Maybe it means one final visit to someone who lives alone and has been overlooked in the Christmas rush. Maybe it means a note of affirmation to someone you intended to encourage but never quite got around to doing it. Maybe it means one more attempt to reconcile a bruised relationship or an apology to someone you might have disappointed. Maybe it means making sure one last time that you have honored all the earnings God has graced you with by giving a final tithe or sacrificial offering to the church you love. Maybe it means setting aside one more private worship time when you can pour out your heart in thanksgiving to God for His faithfulness in 2012.
My point is that someday you will stand and give an account of your life to Jesus, the ultimate “finisher!” With that in mind, let’s each make up our minds to do whatever it takes to finish 2012 well! Agreed?