SIMPLE TRUTH: Until it is finished

Published 10:55 am Wednesday, March 12, 2014

By Charles Christmas

Haven’t we all, at one time or another, been tempted to not finish something that we began? One of the hundreds of memories of my “forever darling” wife is her little saying: “When a task is once begun, never stop until it’s done; be it great or be it small, do it well or not at all.”

I have certainly had the temptation to not finish. Have you? Are you having such now? Does it relate to high school, college, nursing school, technical school, your marriage, your present employment, a job search or in another area like parenting, a family role or aging? Does it relate to health restoration or addiction recovery?

I remember once at age 42 I wondered how I could ever make it to a retirement age of 65. At age 49, with the entire pastoral and other responsibilities upon me, I felt I would just have to give up in the middle of my three-year Doctor of Ministries program through our New Orleans Seminary. But Louise would not permit it. She expressed her faith in me and took over and said, “No way!” God’s encouragement through her resulted in my degree work being finished ahead of schedule. A summary of my desire and vision and prayer at age 87 is to finish well in every area of life the Father has committed to me.

The Bible gives much encouragement to be faithful finishers and gives us many examples of “faithful finishers.” One verse that has spoken to me and I have claimed for this year and the remainder of my life is 1 Chronicles 28:20: “Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged for the Lord God is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you until all is finished.” The encouragement of this verse is given to God’s people throughout the Old and New Testament. I am seeking to apply this verse daily. Could you profit by doing likewise?

The Apostle Paul’s goal and purpose was to be a faithful finisher. In Acts 20:24 he said, “I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me: the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.” Then at the end of his life he expressed his satisfaction and joy of being a faithful finisher: “The time has come for my departure (death). I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race. I have kept the faith.” (2 Timothy 4:6)

Our Lord Jesus knew the task and the mission for which the Father had sent him into our world. His entire life’s purpose and goal involved becoming The Faithful Finisher. Nothing would deter him “until all be accomplished.” He knew it could only be “finished” at death and by death on his cross.

With only a few hours remaining before his death, Jesus included the following statement in his Intercessory Prayer: “Father, I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do.” (John 17:4) Then the Apostle John described the final moments of Christ on the cross in the following words: “Later, knowing that all was now completed, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.” (John 19:28-30)

—Charles Christmas is a religion columnist for The Clanton Advertiser. His column appears each Thursday.