Saturday, February 2, 2013

It's All In The Finishing

So how's it going? Everything okay with you? How's your calling working out? Still going strong? Still pressing on to the end? Do you still know what that calling is? Sometimes what starts out clear and defined becomes a bit fuzzy with time. With all the pushing and pulling in our life our calling can get all stretched out, even diluted. It becomes like sugar in water whereas it was intended to be a rock in water. After a few years we may even begin to wonder if we heard, correctly or perhaps we had misunderstood. Perhaps you have already chosen a different path because the original one lost its definition. I hope not.

It's always easy to start something. It's an entirely different thing to finish it. Anyone can start off with the strength and ability they have but such things are not found in unlimited supply in us. Eventually we will run out, get discouraged and walk away. If you are called to something by God, he has not intented for you to do it with your limited resources. You can try but eventually you will quit. God does not need your limitations; he wants to fill you with his limitless supply. Apostle Paul wrote about his calling:

To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me. (Colossians 4:29)

The key point here is not so much the labour, because it can be any labour in the Kingdom, but it is the fact that Paul did this labour with all Jesus' energy. Even the Energy Bunny is going to run out of power. Anyone with children know this to be true. In fact, even high energy kids will eventually drop. But those who labour with all Jesus' energy will have a constant supply, of everything. With each and every calling , when we put our hand to the plow, we are not permitted to look back. In looking back you will always find a way to return to the place you started. We cannot allow thoughts of "what ifs" to enter our thinking because then our life becomes filled with regrets. Regrets will also eat away at our determination.

For Paul, finishing the race was what mattered. Success belonged to the Lord, not to Paul. Paul's only concern was to run the race with the attitude of winning. His responsibility was to finish what he started. Faithfulness is how Jesus defines success in the Kingdom. Paul reminded his friends of the need to finish what they started:

Tell Archippus: “See to it that you complete the work you have received in the Lord.” (Colossians 4:17)

Near the end of his life Paul wrote to his friend Timothy:

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. (2 Timothy 4:7)

Paul finished what he had set out to do: be faithful to the end in every task he had been given by Jesus. When we are surrounded by life, distractions, a chorus of voices, hundreds of choices and paths, things can get confusing. But there is only one voice we should respond to. It is not the voice of our self-wisdom. It is not the voice of modern education. It is not the voice of "good ideas". It is our Shepherd's voice who has called us to himself, to be faithful in what he has given us to do. Any fool can start but it takes a person centered and dependent on Jesus to finish.

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