Fishes & Loaves

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On Saturdays I try to set aside time to do home improvement projects. The previous owner loved wood and never painted anything. So last summer we decided to paint the porch white and make it look more finished.

Sounded like a simple project. Except the wood was very dark, so it had to be primed before it could be painted. I didn’t plan on that, and I spent all day putting two coats of primer on it. “I’ll finish it next Saturday,” I told myself.

It was a few weeks later before I could get back around to it. I spent all day painting. Then I ran out of paint (didn’t plan on that, either) and had to stop again. I left a large section undone. “I’ll finish it next Saturday,” I told myself.

Then I got busy. Cold weather came, and I couldn’t do any painting at all. So we went all winter with a partially painted porch — a silent testimony to something I started but did not finish.

It’s a bad habit to indulge. Unfinished porches can easily become unfinished books, incomplete relationships, or unfulfilled goals and dreams. There are only so many tomorrows.

The Apostle Paul taught us a lot about finishing what you start. He once compared himself to a marathon athlete and said he wanted to “finish [his]race with joy” (Acts 20:24). Not just finish, but finish with joy!

Sooner or later, all of us will finish the Race of Life. But I’m afraid that too many people will stagger and stumble across the Finish Line at the end of their days — beat up, broke, and bitter, wondering what might have happened if they had done things differently.

I want to finish my race with joy! Not just finish. I want to FINISH WELL.

“Finishing well” (to me) means to live a life of purposed intention — a life that is in harmony with your vision, your values, your passions, your gifts, your talents, your dreams.

Finishing well means to come to the end of your life with joy in your heart, knowing you did your best and you fulfilled your purpose.

If you died tonight, could you look back on your life with the satisfaction of an athlete who crossed the finish line after a good, long run? Or would you be filled with regret over all the things you could have done — all the things you meant to do — but never got around to doing?

I encourage you to make a list of the people you need to make up with; of places you want to see; of things you want to do. Set your priorities and get them done. Find your purpose and pursue it every day. Don’t just finish what you start. Finish well.

And now, if you will excuse me … I have a porch to paint.

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