Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…

For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near.  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.”

II Timothy 4: 6-8 (NIV)

That passage in Paul’s second letter to his beloved Timothy, is one of the great passages of encouragement contained in Scripture, where Paul begins to pass the mantle of responsibility to Timothy. Look at it again from The Message translation, when Paul says—

You take over. I’m about to die, my life an offering on God’s altar. 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! Depend on it, He’s an honest Judge. He’ll do right not only by me, but by everyone eager for His coming.” II Timothy 4: 6-8 (The Message)

Did you notice the subtle challenge Paul sets forth to Timothy and to each of us? “I’ve run hard right to the finish,” he says, “believed all the way.”

There’s the challenge for Timothy and for you and me; that no matter what you are going through, no matter what we face, no matter how many times we’ve fallen, or how many missteps or detours we’ve suffered—run to the finish. Or as the NIV translation above says—fight the good fight. And we’ve just come out of the season of Lent and Holy Week, leading to Good Friday and Easter Sunday—with the example of the One who fought the good fight, and ran hard right to the finish on the cross and then the empty tomb.

But that’s easier said than done, you say. Of course. Sure, there we are, facing a painful illness, the cancer has returned, or the heart problems are lingering longer than expected and the medical experts can’t seem to figure out why to bring a resolution.

We’ve noticed that Alzheimer’s has seemingly begun to rear its debilitating head close to home, as the vibrancy of your loved one begins to fade before your very eyes. We’re at a crossroads in our career and none of the turns seems to be just right.

Of course it’s difficult. It’s life. But the admonition of Paul in that God-breathed passage of scripture is clear—keep fighting the good fight, keep running hard, and live your life all the way to the finish.

And while you’re at it, do what Christ did, what Paul did, and help those around you to live theirs all the way to the finish as well.

Help them to realize that no matter their age or condition, retirement is not an option in the Kingdom of God—your testimony and their testimony has not been finished yet. The impact, memories and legacy of their lives is still being written.

I love what Hubert Humphrey had to say about that a few years ago. I don’t care what your politics may be, but you’ve got to admire Hubert Humphrey and his view of the journey of the sixty-six years of life he was given. He served as the US Senator from Minnesota, and then as the 38th Vice President of the United States of America.

Near death, fighting against a cancer that would not go away, and would ultimately take his life, he whispered a truth for the ages when he said—

It’s not what you’ve lost in life that counts; it’s what you have left.”

A great reminder for us for today and tomorrow and whenever—that no matter what we’ve been through in life, no matter what has happened, a moment doesn’t define who we are, and no matter what we are facing—our whole life isn’t over yet.

The story of the rest of our lives is still being written.

Every moment of our lives—to the very last breath we take here on earth—we are to be about living a legacy of changed lives all around us, lives that are better because we have lived and would be less if we weren’t here.

One time around—fight the good fight, run hard right to the finish.

It matters!

In His Name—Scott


Copyright 2016. Scott L. Whitaker. All rights reserved.