"The world is full of starters and quitters but very few finishers."
VBS at First Baptist Church in Monticello, Utah is now
history. Our attendance today was fifty-seven, which is great for a last day attendance. Parents visited for the closing session and stayed for a hot dog lunch. We are finished now.
Once again we have increased our circles of friends for which we will forever be grateful. Some of our new friends have also become new followers of Jesus. This week has certainly been an investment in eternity. It's been a privilege to have been a part of it.
After lunch we did quite a bit of work in taking down all of the decorations and preparing them to be taken to a church in Cortez, Colorado. The decorations, including one large train engine built by Daniel Washington, will be used again in VBS next week.
The house painting project is very close to being complete. Tomorrow morning we will finish.
I don't know about you but I love to finish things. Years ago in the student ministries at Prince Avenue I had the students make a list of their "Ten Wildest Dreams." One of my dreams was to go to Russia. Finished. In fact, three times. Another dream was to ride my bike across the United States of America. Finished! I would like to write and illustrate some books for children. Not finished, but started. There are more, some that have been finished and others still be to be finished and/or started. When I get home from Utah I have a list of things that need to be finished around the house. These I will prioritize and tackle one at a time until they are finished.
I'm not sure what drives me to finish, maybe it's just plain old stubbornness. A more spiritual term could be determined. Either way, I am one or both of those.
Finishing is important but to finish requires determination, focus and priority. I don't really want to be a Jack-of-all-trades. That sounds good but it doesn't help a finisher because there's no way to focus and often too much to do. When you think about it, God in the Scriptures, generally called his followers to do one thing. That's one of the reasons they were finishers. Look at Moses, he led the Israelites out of Egyptian bondage. Noah built a large floating zoo. Gideon defeated the Midianites. Esther protected the Jews and generations to follow. Nehemiah rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem. Even Paul, in his final letter to Timothy said, "I have fought a good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful" (2 Timothy 4:7).
He also said in Philippians 3:12-14, "I don't mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection! But I keep working toward the day when I will finally be all that Christ Jesus saved me for and wants me to be. No, dear brothers and sisters, I am still not all that I should be, but I am focusing all my energies on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us up to heaven."
Paul was a man of determination, focus, and priority.
The Bible, describing the crucifixion of Jesus, tells it like this, "Jesus knew that everything was now finished, and to fulfill the Scriptures he said, 'I am thirsty.' A jar of sour wine was sitting there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put it on a hyssop branch, and held it up to his lips. When Jesus tasted it, he said, 'It is finished!' Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit" (John 19:28-30).
To the enemies and followers of Jesus, it was finished . . . over, done, ended, dead, never to be again. But for those of us who know Jesus, it was the beginning. It was a fresh start of a new life in Christ. It was the reason Jesus came. He lived his life and finished for us. He too was determined, focused, and had as his priority, the world . . . you and me. Aren't you glad he finished?
What do you have that needs to be finished? Maybe some dreams, maybe some goals, maybe some projects? It's never too late you know. Focus on the dreams, goals, and projects that honor and glorify Jesus and go for it. Just do it.
You should too.