Irvin Wasswa- Tylertown Campus Pastor LHBC

2 Timothy 4:6-8
6 For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Henceforth there is laid up 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 loved his appearing.

The Greeks had an olympic race that was unique in its kind. The winner of the race was not necessarily the one who finished first. The winner was actually the one who crossed the finish line at the end with their torch still lit. The one who crossed the finish line with the torch still lit finished well.

The apostle Paul in 2 Timothy 4 was nearing the finish line of his life. He was in prison, awaiting execution due to persecution for standing for Jesus. At this point in time, he had been abandoned by his friends because of fear of persecution, his ministry to the nations was ending. He had nothing, yet in light of all of that, he remained faithful to the end in writing this epistle of challenge and encouragement to Timothy. The easy thing for Paul to have done was to just coast to the finish line. He knew that he was about to die. He had served the Lord so faithfully and lived a life of selflessness up to this point. He could have perhaps justified throwing himself a mini pity party in light of all of his circumstances. The good news is that he didn’t though. He chose to finish well. 

The truth for us today is that as long as the Lord tarries in His return, we will all cross the finish line of life. Hebrews 9:27 tells us that it is appointed for man to die and then face judgment. None of us know when that time will come but here’s the truth: we ought to want to be known as believers who finish well don’t we? I want to be known as someone who didn’t settle for simply coasting into eternity, but rather was about answering the call to make disciples. As the apostle Paul reflects back on his life in 2 TImothy 4:6-8, he highlights for us ways in which he finished well which we can apply to our life as we walk with Jesus.

Firstly, he shares through his statements that he did not quit. He was about the work of the Lord until the very end of his life. He fought the good fight and kept the faith throughout his life walking with the Lord. Through hardship and struggle, through pain and toil, he endured until the very end. Listen friend, no matter how difficult life may get, do not quit. Choose to endure. Paul understood the struggle. He was shipwrecked (Acts 26), he was stoned and left for dead (Acts 14), he was harassed and kicked out of towns, he was beaten, robbed, went days without eating and so much more (2 Corinthians 11), but listen he did not quit. Keep following Jesus and serving Him no matter how tough life may get. 

Lastly, Paul always had eternity in mind. He mentions in vs 8 that when he arrives in Heaven he will receive the crown of righteousness which he will be able to lay back down at the feet of Jesus. Paul always had eternity in mind. He mentioned all throughout his epistles the call for us to be eternity. In 1 Corinthians 3 he tells us that we will be rewarded in Heaven for what we do for the Lord during our time here on earth. In Colossians 3:2 he tells us to set our eyes on things that are above. Our focus ought to be on eternity. This life here is but a vapor for we are here today and gone tomorrow. The reality of that truth ought to motivate us to make the most of our time and finish well. Paul’s eternal mindset moved him to understand that until his final breath there are people who are lost who need to hear the gospel and respond. There are saints who need to be invested in so they can grow in their faith and invest in others (2 TImothy 2:2). 

At the end of my life, I want to be known as a person who’s torch was burning just as bright for Jesus as it was when I first believed in Him. May that be said of your life as well. Choose to be all in for Him today. Follow Him with all your heart. Serve Him with all that you have while you are here on Earth, for we do not know when we will take our last breath. Let us be known as people who finished well like Paul!

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you Lord for saving and calling me to be a part of your work. I pray that Paul’s example of endurance would serve as an encouragement for me today to be diligent in following You. Bring rest to my weary soul today and motivation to keep going in being the Godly man/woman you have called me to be. In Jesus’ name, Amen!

1 Timothy 1:17
To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.