Bible Verse: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” (2 Timothy 4:7-8)

Scripture Reading: Psalm 100:1-5

Lifelong serving means serving God throughout a person’s life, from the time he/she becomes a follower of Christ to the end of his/her life regardless of age. This implies that such a person needs to finish well by staying the course in the often challenging environment of church life. One may ask, “How am I going to find the strength to keep going, giving the weight of the pressures facing me at church?” Bill Hybels, in his book, Courageous Leadership, suggests that one of the most important things one must do to stay the course is to make one’s calling sure and stay focused. In 2 Timothy 4:5b, the Apostle Paul says: “discharge all the duties of your ministry,” meaning by implication that we should fulfill the exact ministry that God has given us, hence knowing our calling and our ministry is of utmost importance.

Another helpful suggestion Hybels makes is “to endure with an eternal perspective.” What he means is to look at the present hardships from a broader viewpoint and that will remind us of the goal that is always before us. To stress this point, Hybels paraphrases 1 Corinthians 15:58 in today’s modern language: “No matter how difficult the hardship, no matter how long a particular storm lasts, no matter how dark and scary it gets, no matter how the winds howl and the waves crash… choose the path of courage. Be steadfast. Be immovable. Endure.”

The Bible has numerous examples of those who finished well. In addition to Caleb and Joshua these include Job, Joseph, Samuel, David, Elijah, Jeremiah, Daniel, John, Luke, Mary, Paul, and Peter. Unfortunately, there are also those who started well but did not finish well, such as King Saul, King Solomon, and Judas the Traitor.

Paul in his letter to Timothy says: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Tim. 4:7). Finishing well was a top priority for the Apostle, and it must be for us, too.
However, finishing well does not mean finishing unblemished or perfect. That is impossible according to 1 John 1:8, 10. But it is possible to stumble and by God’s grace get up again to finish well as in the case of King David (2 Sam. 12:1-24; Psalm 51). Furthermore, it is a joy to finish the course in lifelong serving (Ps. 100; 1 Pet. 1:8-9; Phil. 4:4) and even to receive a prize as Philippians 3:14 says: “I press toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

— Gerald K. Chan in Serving in the Golden Years: The Tribe of Caleb
© 2016 by Gerald K Chan. Used by permission.

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