Apostle | Finish

Apostle | Finish

How you finish your time on Earth is important. How do you plan to finish? What purpose does your life move toward? What would be considered as a good finish for you?  Maybe you plan to have a family, build a great career, enjoy retirement. Then what?

In the story of all things, the story of God, ours is such a small part. We imagine that our part is much larger than it actually is. But it is also true that we greatly underestimate the significance of the part we play.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (NLT) Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, 20 for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.

You Don’t Own Your Life. We need perspective on our existence. We are not God. We need God. We are not the masters of our fate. Many will fight that reality all the way to death’s door. And, then they will meet God.

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2 Timothy 4:5 (NLT) But you should keep a clear mind in every situation. Don’t be afraid of suffering for the Lord. Work at telling others the Good News, and fully carry out the ministry God has given you.

The Good News and Your Ministry

Don’t be Afraid of Suffering. Life is hard. It’s often going to feel as though it’s not worth it. You are going to want to implode or self-destruct from time to time. Some will have it easier than others (by your standards). But, all will face their own battles.  Nobody gets out of this life unscathed.

You can spend days dreading the unknown or you can accept it. You may even be able to use it for something greater.

1 Peter 4:1-2 (NLT) So then, since Christ suffered physical pain, you must arm yourselves with the same attitude he had, and be ready to suffer, too. For if you have suffered physically for Christ, you have finished with sin. 2 You won’t spend the rest of your lives chasing your own desires, but you will be anxious to do the will of God.

All of the joy in life is for Jesus. The pain is for Jesus as well.  All for Him. None of it is really for me. None is really about me. All of it gets used to make me, mold me, and build me into someone far greater than I could ever hope to be on my own. And all of it is for Jesus! All of it is for His glory.  Whether I live or die, it is for the Lord (Romans 14:8).

Talking about Jesus. Jesus is the thing you have access to that the world at large does not. Jesus is Lord. Jesus is Life. He has all the power and authority. And, He lives in you because of God’s Holy Spirit. Therefore, everything Jesus has earned is on your account. Jesus had made so many promises to us. Promises He keeps and promises He continues keeping. Promises that are as good as if held in your hands. He comforts us and carries us through all of our difficulties if we stay with Him and IN Him. But most of all, He forgives us and covers us daily with mercy and grace.

I do not know how people live without Jesus. I do not know how you have cancer without Jesus. How do you handle a job loss, financial turmoil, or divorce without Jesus? How do you lose those you love without Jesus?  I don’t know how anyone lives without Jesus. 

But many will never learn of Jesus in any meaningful way.

There are many ways people are denied access to Jesus. Some are blinded by their biases. Others, by the abuses and insults of life. Most will never have anyone pray for them. Few will ever see an honest, humble, and authentic believer. They’ll see lots of religious people. But few care enough to listen, to understand, and find their language. Few will declare the hope of Jesus in words and contexts that can be heard or heeded.

YOUR Ministry. This is your ministry. This is God’s ministry for your life. Find ways to tell people the good news. Ours is to find the language and the voice that will tell others about Jesus. Your kids, friends, employees, coworkers, and contemporaries need Jesus. I’m not asking you to change or save the world. I am not asking you to proclaim to the whole world Jesus’ story. I am asking you to tell YOUR world about Him. 

We have been bought with a price, to tell those that we can. If they refuse to listen (rather than consign them to God’s judgment), maybe we could try harder, find another voice, find another way. That’s how God does things. And, that’s how His people do things.

2 Timothy 4:6-8 (NLT) As for me, my life has already been poured out as an offering to God. The time of my death is near. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. 8 And now the prize awaits me—the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on the day of his return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to his appearing.

The Fight, The Race, and The Prize

It’s About Faithfulness. Jesus, delivers us from our impatience. This is what we do day after day, week after week, month after month, and year after year. We step up each day. We fight every day for our faith and for the faith of those around us. 

Everyone wants to win the day. They want to win one battle, then be done.  They say, “I’ve done my part. I fought in the battle.”   Who has the right to ask for more, right?  This isn’t one battle to be won or lost. This is a war that IS won.  But every soul must be wrestled free from the grip of the darkness. 

Jude 1:22-23 (NLT)  And you must show mercy to those whose faith is wavering. 23 Rescue others by snatching them from the flames of judgment. Show mercy to still others, but do so with great caution, hating the sins that contaminate their lives.

The Prize. The final scene of the Lord of the Rings, to me, is one of the most significant and beautiful in the history of film. But that is because I know that Tolkein was a believer and his story was an allegory for our situation. The day the King returns, all will be made right. And all believers will be recognized and presented as righteous. Or, right.

If Today Was Your Last Day. . .What has your life said about Jesus? Who has it told about Jesus? Who, besides you, has benefitted from your presence in this world?