So to finish, what exactly happens? Seriously, what happens when you finish?
If you are like me, finishing is the hard thing. Starting is easy. My room is full of things I started, and still haven't finished. I have model airplanes, LEGO projects, paintings, books I'm trying to write, random letters I still need to respond too, poems that just need that sixth line, and yes, a pile of clothes that need to be folded. Maybe I'm just highly distractable, or maybe I just don't have the vision to finish something.
So what does it mean to finish something? Or more importantly, when you are running, why is the finish so important? Well, for some people, they don't even think about finishing. They give up before they even come within sight of the finish line. Others come so close, only to collapse just a few steps from the finish line. Just how do some people not just cross the finish line, but do it running??
I would submit to you that most of this strength is in the mind. We are told to run the good race, to fight the good fight, to continue on until the end. In fact, in 1 Corinthians, Paul tells us that "in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize." He then exhorts us to "run in such a way as to get the prize." I don't know about you, but this sounds pretty rigorous! He's telling us that we're to try for first place?
My first thought as I went over that verse was "WHAT?? I'm supposed to try and beat the people who do this for a living? How am I, a mere mortal, with limited resources, supposed to beat someone who trains with professionals, has sponsors, and lives their life to run?" But then I started thinking. We are also commanded to be above reproach. This means that nobody should be able to even hint that we've done something out-of-line. So when it comes to running, we ARE supposed to try and challenge those people who run for a living! We are supposed to try for first place, no matter what! We are to do everything as unto God. That's not some things, or faith-based things, but EVERYTHING!
So here's a little confession. Right now is finals time. I've had three finals so far, and I have another two that got postponed to tomorrow because of inclement weather. And as I was thinking about what final grades I am expecting from these five classes, I thought to myself: "Did I really study as much as I should have for all of those homeworks? Did I really do every single quiz has if I was doing it unto the Lord? Did I give every single test and exam my all? Was I completely and utterly exhausted at the end because I had spent everything trying for that ever-elusive A?"
Sadly, I realized I could have tried much harder. Several of my friends without realizing it, showed me just how wrong my attitude was. Some of them, even non-Christians, just refused to accept anything less than a perfect grade! They weren't happy with just an A, they couldn't settle for a 99, they had to try for that perfect 100%. As I walked out of my third final, I thought to myself, "Now why don't I think that way? Why am I not striving for that perfect score, as unto the Lord?"
So my exhortation to all of you out there is to finish strong. When the finish lines looms in the distance, don't cower and shrink from that last challenge. Instead, sprint! Run towards it with joy and the expectation of reaching the end! Don't compare yourself to those around you. Instead, think of what the total potential is, and aim for that. Rather than just a percentile score, try for perfection. You've run a full race, you've made it thus far, and by God's grace, you are still alive today, so finish with a burst! Take everything you've got, and lay it all out!
"And having done all, to stand."