Finish Strong

Running is a hobby of mine that has grown on me since I ran track and cross country in high school and every race is an experiment.  I still love the sound of the starting gun and the anticipation of lining up before a race, but one thing has changed for me: I run more against myself than I do against other people.  One of the ways to achieve “PR’s” (Personal Records) is to finish strong.  This simply means run your fastest miles towards the end of the race.  This is a difficult art to master.

Ashton Eaton crushes the world record in the decathlon at the U.S. Olympic Trials
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race,
I have kept the faith.”  2 Timothy 4:7

    Finishing well in life is not about how fast you start but how intentionally you finish.

    Some of my favorite people are senior adults!  Part of the joy of being a pastor in a multi-generational church is that we have the privilege of honoring senior adults among us.  217church is not just a church full of young people; but also those who have been around the block a couple times and are finishing strong.  Why? Let’s break it down with seven keys to finishing strong.

  • Intentionality – Discipline is the one thing that intentional people have.  They are looking for certain outcomes and have the fortitude to order their schedule to invest in high impact activities.  They don’t “retire”, but view their advanced years as the most productive and meaningful years lived.
  • Perspective – Finishing strong means you know that it isn’t about you.  Whatever your passion and purpose, it’s ultimately about passing your skills, ideas and wisdom on to the next generation.  If what you discovered dies with you, what’s the point?
  • Experience – Not just experience but evaluated experience.  Get as much experience you can in what you want to excel in.  Finishing strong means you learn not only from your own mistakes but from the mistakes of others.  This is an art that if you master can serve you well.
  • Focus – By the time you are in your sixties and seventies, you not only know what you are good at and not good at, but you no longer desire to be all things to all people.  You also know what is important, not important and have the FOCUS not to simply talk about it, but to do it!  One of my character mentors, who is eighty-five years old, arises at 4:30 am every morning and prays for 2 hours.  HE PRAYS FOR ME EVERY DAY.  As I am writing this, he is just finishing up his prayer time.  He gets it. He defines finishing strong!
  • Family – NOT hobbies, yes I said family!  Hobbies and pleasure are not bad, but they become subversive when they inhibit relationships. People who finish strong will do anything and stop at nothing to propogate a healthy generational legacy.  I recently heard of grandparents that moved far away from their grandchildren to live the good life in Florida because they “deserve it.”  Now they see their grand kids once a year.  They chose pleasure over purpose.  I hope you enjoy your golf outings, your grandchildren will miss you.
  • Clarity – The older I get the more I find I am telling it like it is. (that’s scary)  I think almost everyone has witnessed grandma or grandpa sharing truth at the Thanksgiving table and cutting right to the point.  In essence, finishing strong means you can’t worry what other people might think or say about you.  Be clear about what you are about.
  • Character – It is not about the outward appearance, but what happens when no one is looking.  Those who finish strong don’t have a public performance mentality; they are performing for an audience of one.
    I am learning more to have long term perspective and I am looking forward to aging with intense focus!

    What about you? What would you add to this list?  LET’S FINISH STRONG!


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