Finishing Strong

The past couple of weeks have been incredibly busy for my family. My daughter, a high school freshman, had a semester project that was due the week after Memorial Day - she built a model of the Palace of Versailles out of styrofoam bricks! She barely had any fun over Memorial weekend, although we did go shopping at the mall for a couple of hours to enjoy a short break, and pick up more supplies at AC Moore.

She had a test in the same honors class the day before the project was due. She was bordering on an A and a B and had opportunities for extra credit which she had taken advantage of, though not as much as her mother would have liked. I'm sure I sounded like the biggest nag!

A crazy semester schedule, my daughter was a pole vaulter on the track team, a dancer at a local dance studio (recital was last weekend), and participated in a local ministry one night a week through our church, and somehow managed to complete Driver's Ed!

As we approached the last couple of weeks of school, I could see she was getting tired and losing interest. She was exhibiting an attitude of simply getting by.

My words to her over and over, were "finish strong." You've come this far, your grades have been good all semester. I know you're tired, but do your best. Just a little bit longer.

As I've heard myself speaking those words to my child, I have almost heard God speaking those same words to me!

It is easy for me to tell someone else to finish strong, but how am I doing? In January, I wrote a blog post about called Keep it Simple - Don't Ever Quit, based on 2 Timothy 4:1-5:

I can't impress this on you too strongly. God is looking over your shoulder. Christ himself is the Judge, with the final say on everyone, living and dead. He is about to break into the open with his rule, so proclaim the Message with intensity; keep on your watch. Challenge, warn, and urge your people. Don't ever quit. Just keep it simple.

...—keep your eye on what you're doing; accept the hard times along with the good; keep the Message alive; do a thorough job as God's servant.

We often set great goals for ourselves in January, and then realize as the year moves on and we become overwhelmed with life, how difficult it seems to complete those goals. This could be related to our spiritual walk, weight loss, getting and staying organized, just to name a few. Or in my case - all of the above! ;)

We may even wonder if it even matters. We may think of giving up. Quitting.

Our flesh says, "It's just too hard!" or questions, "Does it really matter?"

Yes, it does!

When I begin to feel tired and lazy, the Holy Spirit convicts me to do my best for the Lord.

Am I keeping my eyes on what I'm doing? Am I accepting the hard times along with the good? Am I keeping the Message alive? And am I doing a thorough work as God's servant?

Reading on in the same chapter, Paul tells Timothy:

...This is the only race worth running. I've run hard right to the finish, believed all the way. All that's left now is the shouting—God's applause!... 2 Timothy 4:6-8 (The Message)

A mid-year evaluation if you will, this is a reminder to me to stay in the race.

What about you? What do you believe God has called you to do? Every life matters to God. The enemy would love for believers to slack off and question their worth in the All Conference Kingdom Meet. He would love nothing more than for each one of us to sit on the sidelines without participating.

But God expects more. We are ALL called to run this race.

Finish strong!

Lord, help us to finish strong in the personal race you have for us. Life is too short not to give our best to Your Kingdom work. May we be focused and determined, not losing sight of the goal You would have us accomplish.

(By the way, my daughter managed to pull off an A in that class! And confirmed that her mother was a nag! :))


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