Thursday Morning Devotion (Keep Running to the Finish Line)

For Zion’s sake I will not keep quiet,
For Jerusalem’s sake, I will not be still,
Until her righteous shines forth in brilliance,
And her salvation flashes like lightning. — Isaiah 62:1

So leaving the starting point of Christ’s message, let us go forward to perfection {or maturity or completion}, not re-laying the foundation of repentance from dead works, of faith in God . . . — Hebrews 6:1

But now he has been revealed one time for eternal completeness, to set aside sin by means of his sacrifice. — Hebrews 9:26b

I have a number of physical file folders (you know, the type that hold actual paper), recently reorganized, and a similar number of folders on my hard drive with ideas for stories, essays, and books. Until I was reorganizing them recently, I didn’t realize just how many ideas I had with anything from a note through an outline, through many pages of written material.

All of these notes have something in common, however. Not one of them is finished. They are sitting there in their folders, useless to anyone, though potentially useful to me. Unless I finish them, they will never benefit anyone else. Some of them deserve such a fate; I hope that some of them do not!

I’ve chosen the three texts today because of one common thread—finishing what you’re doing.

There are two concepts in Christianity that sometimes seem to be in tension, but they really fit together rather well. The first is repentance. This concept tells us to check the road we’re on and not continue to move forward if we’re on the wrong one. The other is the concept of perfection.

Now we argue frequently about the end point of perfection, but for most us, and certainly for me, arguing about the final stage is kind of moot. We’re nowhere close to needing to worry about just how close to Christian perfection we’ll get in this life. All of us, however, can be on the right road. Thus in practical terms, perfection is a destination, a place to which we are traveling, and not an attainment.

If you’re on that road, these texts are a call for you to keep right on moving forward, never give up, never turn back, and finish the work that you’ve started to do. The world is filled with partially completed projects, just like all those manuscripts in my files. Now I’m not going to quit starting things just because they might collect in folders for some future time. Out of those folders have now come seven books and a stack of articles, and I’m editing on more. But those finished items never just popped out whole. Every one of them required me to schedule time, work on them regularly, and keep on working until I attained that goal.

Too often in our daily lives and also in our church lives we go part of the way toward a goal, and then opposition or discouragement sets in. We decide it’s just too hard, or that the task is impossible. Then we settle for second best or an incomplete job.

Now if we were on the wrong path, doing the wrong thing, or doing it in the wrong place or at the wrong time, then we are called to repentance, a course adjustment toward God’s will. But if our goal is right, and we’re doing it at the right time, we are called upon not to stop until it’s finished.

We’re coming up on holy week, and we’ll commemorate and celebrate what Jesus did for us on the cross, and the resurrection. Would any of this have been valuable had it only been partially completed?

Check your course, then drive on toward the goal.

Extra Reading: Luke 18:1-8

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