2 Timothy 4:6-8 (NIV)
6 For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.
There are many people who see the last years of their life as an opportunity to relax. But this does not fit with God’s purpose for us. God wants us to serve Him all the days of our lives.
If we look at the Apostle Paul’s journey, we can get a better picture of what it means to finish well. He spent his time pouring into others until the very end of his life. Consider the letters he wrote to Timothy from prison prior to being executed. The verses above come from one of those letters that Paul wrote Timothy.
In every season of our lives, God calls each of us to serve others.
Notice how, when writing about his life, Paul chose words descriptive of battle. He understood the human struggle against sin as well as the challenges of pain and persecution in the trials we all face in our lives. These trials come to each of us at some time or another, even if we are doing kingdom work like preaching Christ to a fiercely resistant society.
This godly servant’s life was also marked by surrender. Paul’s mindset is obvious in these following words:
12 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.
Paul was clearly not afraid of the Roman emperor Nero, nor was he struggling to stay alive. Paul trusted God to determine everything about his life, including where he would go, what he would do, and when he would die. Death did not scare him, because he knew he would dwell with Jesus forever.
God doesn’t require us to have perfect lives in order to finish strong. We can live abundantly and still be ready to meet God by surrendering to Him, walking victoriously with Christ, and serving others. The question is, if Jesus called you home today, would you, like Paul, be confident that you live well until the very end?