Finishing Strong

In the midst of the coronavirus, I’ve found myself watching a lot more NASCAR than usual. Maybe it’s the lack of other sports, but I’m starting to become a fan. The talent of the drivers has always impressed me as they race around the track at 100+ miles per hour and sometimes just mere millimeters from one another.

One driver in particular stands out to me. Kevin Harvick is one of the older drivers in the Cup Series, but he’s having a great season. One of the things that Harvick is known for is his ability to finish races very well. In fact, his nickname is “The Closer.” If Harvick has a lead towards the end of the race, the other drivers are going to be hard-pressed to catch him. It is this closing ability that makes him such a great driver.

Watching Harvick makes me think about how well we finish in our personal lives. As I look back at my own life, I’m pretty good at starting things but probably not so good at finishing them. Numerous projects around the house and in the yard are daily reminders of my lack of closing ability. Finishing well requires discipline and perseverance. The old adage is true. If finishing well was easy, then everyone would do it.

Being around the military for so many years, I’ve always been impressed with those airmen who finish their careers strong when they probably could have hit the easy button. There is actually an acronym for people in the military who check out early. It’s called ROAD — Retired On Active Duty. I always knew I never wanted to be that person.

As Christians, God calls us to finish strong in whatever task He has laid before us. The apostle Paul was a great finisher. He writes in Philippians 3:13-14,

“Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

He also wrote in 2 Timothy 4:7,

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”

These verses are a great encouragement for us to stay focused on God as we keep pressing forward. With that said, I want to encourage you to finish strong wherever you are. Maybe it’s a project at work, a paper at school, or something else that God has placed on your heart. When things don’t go our way, it can be easy to throw the towel in and give up.

In the world of sports, I’m always impressed by the teams and individual athletes who have been eliminated from contention yet continue to play with great effort and intensity. This says a lot about their overall character. And character lasts far longer than any game or competition!

One of the last things I want to say about finishing well is to mention the reality that as Christians we are never really finished. We may finish tasks or projects that God has given us but as long as God grants us the breath of life, we continue to have the privilege of telling the world about the good news of God’s grace. The world is in desperate need of this news. What a blessing that God uses broken vessels like us to communicate the truth of the gospel.

So, I want to encourage you to finish strong in whatever you are doing, however small or big of a task it may be. Not only does this say a lot about your character but it also may open up doors for you to share the good news of God’s grace with others.