“Beginning well is a momentary thing; finishing well is a lifelong thing.” – Ravi Zacharias
“Your most important work is always ahead of you – never behind you.” – Stephen Covey
“You have tremendous influence over your experience of the events and circumstances of your life.” – Mali Apple
“Starting at the finish line” sounds like an oxymoron, but tremendous wisdom and life-changing power can be found when you analyze its hidden meaning and apply its principles within your own life each day.
Many of us don’t enjoy or spend much time thinking about life’s finish line. The thought of it can be too depressing and overwhelming, so avoiding the subject all together seems to be the best approach to take for most of us. We reason with ourselves that ignorance is bliss. What good can come from contemplating our death? What benefit can possibly arise by thinking about crossing the finish line of our life?
When we take the time to contemplate how we want to finish our life, we embrace the opportunity to start making daily decisions NOW that will affect its outcome. That’s why starting at the finish line can be a life-changing decision. If you envision how you want to be remembered or what kind of impact your life will make on others, it will begin to move your daily decisions and priorities in a direction that positively change what happens at the finish line of your life.
“All of us will have to give an account of ourselves to God.” (Romans 14:12 GOD’S WORD translation)
What kind of legacy will you leave behind for your children and grandchildren to follow? How will you leave this world a better place? Will you look back on a life well lived or will you shamefully see too much wasted time and opportunities? Was your life filled with selfish pleasure seeking or was it spent selflessly making a difference in the lives of friends and family?
These are very sobering questions, but realize the power you have to change the answers to these questions RIGHT NOW!
Every day of your life you are presented with opportunities to make a difference by what you say to others, what you choose to do with your time, and what you determine is most important and deserves your attention.
“I came naked from my mother’s womb, and I will be stripped of everything when I die.” (Job 1:21)
Too many of us focus on things that will be stripped from us in death. The Wall Street tycoon and the poorest beggar in the slums of Calcutta will enter eternal life on equal ground. We can falsely believe that the winner in the race of life is determined by what they’ve accumulated, the positions or titles they’ve held, or by the lavishness of their worldly experiences. This belief system has coined the phrase, “You only live once so grab all the gusto in life that you can!”
But here is the truth: What is accumulated in life is meaningless in death. The title or position you held is worthless when you’re gone and those lavish life experiences cannot be taken with you.
The legacy of a loving parent, a meaningful friendship, a compassionate spouse, a person who sacrificed personally that others might gain – these are the things that live far beyond death! These are the things that matter most to our Lord 🙂
Another sobering thought that surfaces when you spend some time focusing on the finish line NOW is realizing that we have no idea how far away it is or how much longer our race will run. Healthy people die everyday unexpectedly and people with serious health conditions live years beyond what they ever thought possible. NO ONE knows how short or how long their race will continue.
When a runner starts a hundred yard dash, the finish line is distinctly marked off and the distance has been accurately measured. The race we run in life is different. We have no sense of how far away or how close we are to finishing. It may be several years before you cross the finish line or maybe you will cross it tomorrow. Knowing this, we must face tomorrow with a sobering urgency when it comes to our decisions, priorities and communication with others. If we are indeed determined to leave the legacy we desire, we must see the importance behind every day, hour, and minute remaining.
I hope you start tomorrow at the finish line – envisioning what you desire the end to look like. I pray you look very hard at the daily decisions you make, how you communicate and what takes priority in your life – realizing that what you do today can drastically change how you cross the finish line.
God bless you 🙂