President's Blog

Finishing Well

Fathers and mothers are different. I guess that’s why we celebrate them on different Sundays. Moms buy a lot of protective gear. Dads buy Band-Aids. Moms say, “You worry me too much!” Dads say, “Hey, don’t worry too much!”

Jesus loved like a mother, but taught like a father. Jesus coached by doing. He apprenticed through activity. He mentored by walking with His disciples. They watched Jesus do it. Then they did it with Jesus. And then Jesus watched them do it – sending them out in groups of 72, 12, and three.

This approach helped the disciples build character and finally finish well.

Years back, I read the news story of a pastor and his family driving along Interstate 94 in Wisconsin, when their minivan was hit by a piece of road debris. A large bracket had fallen off a truck in front of them. The pastor and his wife were up front while their six children rode in the back seats. The bracket hit the van’s gas tank and it burst into flames. The parents survived, one child was injured, and the other five children all died at the scene.

What became so memorable for me was the parents’ response to their beloved children’s death. It was reported that the mother said to the father:

“This is what God has been preparing us for all of our lives!”

That comment still gives me chills. And I assure you: that kind of response, that measure of trust, was not generated at the very point of impact. That kind of CHARACTER had been developing for a very long time. A deep abiding conviction that God can be trusted no matter what happens. It is this kind of character that enables us to finish well.

Joe Stowell has a term for the spiritual apathy he sees in so many men. He calls them “SMO Christians” – Sunday Morning Only Christians.

The issue is not so much our attendance pattern, but our pattern of behaviour revealing the lack of spiritual passion in our lives. We say one thing, but our actions speak louder than words. And our kids and grandkids are watching.

We’re prone to wander. To do stupid things we regret. We join the ranks of those who did something inconsistent with everything they said they believed:

  • Adam led the human race and ate from the forbidden fruit

  • Moses led God’s people and foolishly struck a rock

  • David led a nation and followed temptation and committed adultery

The top two things men (fathers) must constantly look out for, if any of us are ever to finish well, are pride and purity. Keep these two in check and much fruit follows.

Boast in the Lord, not in ourselves, and keep our pride in check. Rather than feeding our thought lives, keep thoughts captive, and live a pure life. Do this and we will come to the finish line and find Jesus greeting us with a smile.

Finish well, my friends. Finish humble and pure. And know that once in a while you may even “amaze” Jesus along the way.