How Will You Finish?

Just the other day...we buried our very own "Santa Claus", known to us simply as Mr. Al. Only a few weeks before Christmas, Mr. Al started not feeling well, so he went to the doctor. Diagnosis: Cancer. Just a few weeks later, the Lord called him away to his eternal home. It was a shock to our entire church and community. To my family, it was a huge blow because we had grown to love him immensely.

Mr. Al loved my children so much. He would show up at our door oftentimes saying, "I just wanted to stop by to see my girls". My little princesses would run to see him and give him hugs. They would excitedly chat with him for a few minutes before he went on his way. Every single time he stepped into our house, he brought happiness with him. That's the kind of man he was...so in love with the Lord it oozed out of him and spilled over onto others. He was jolly and joyful, exactly as most of us imagine "Santa Claus".

From what I understand, the first part of Mr. Al's life was not the greatest, but he finished well...very well. I could go on and on about all the thoughtful things he did for so many people...the way he was a friend to all. In the end, Mr. Al died a changed man because of his love for His Savior and that is now his legacy.

Mr. Al's sudden death has made me think about life in a new way. It has made me realize that, at any moment, this earthly life of mine could be snuffed out. I KNOW that and have always known that, but honestly, the death of my friend has forced me to reevaluate....to think more seriously about what I do that counts and what I do that means nothing in light of eternity. I know it has fueled some of my posts lately...this continuing thought process of mine.

And I'm asking myself the hard questions...questions like:
  • What does my life stand for?
  • What REALLY matters?
  • In what ways am I wasting my time?
  • What am I doing that IS worthwhile?
  • What will my legacy be?
  • Will the way I lived my life continue to change the world after I am gone?
  • Does my life bring glory to God and cause others to want to know Him?
I know, I know...intense stuff...not a light-hearted blog post for sure...but vital, in my opinion. Honestly, I like some of the answers I am able to give myself, but there are others that I don't. To change some things will take courage and sheer determination, but the payoff, I believe, is invaluable.

Did you know there are some verses in the Bible that talk about our works (what we do on this earth) being tested? They are found in 1 Corinthians 3:

"For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames."

I want my work to survive the fire of testing!! I want what I do in this life to be worthy of a reward...don't you want the same for yourself?! Heaven forbid that I whittle away my time doing that which will merely be burnt up!

There is no doubt that Mr.Al, who is in the presence of Almighty God at this very moment, would encourage us all to quit wasting our time on the trivial things of this life. I believe he would urge us to go after God with everything in us...to spread the good news of Jesus Christ at all costs. If anyone knows, Mr. Al does, that it's not really about how you started that makes all the difference. In the end, it's how you finish that really counts. In order to finish well, it's going to take a really honest assessment of the life we're living right now.

Let me leave you with a few questions:

If your life ended in the next few moments, how would you finish? Would you hear the words, "Well done" from the Lord? Would your work for the Lord survive the fire of testing?

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For His glory,