Thinking Out Loud

October 3, 2019

It’s How You Finish Which Matters Most

Say what you will about the original The Living Bible translation, but it has helped and inspired many people, and the spirit of it lives on today in The New Living Translation or NLT.

When Ken Taylor was wrapping up II Kings, he did something that translation experts might consider the worst thing he could have done, but I would argue that the worst thing he could have done was also the best thing he could have done.

Wearied perhaps by the kings who simply didn’t learn the lessons of history, or chose to wander from God, Taylor lapsed into point form in some of the final chapters, simply listing the kings and the characteristics of their reign.

Taking it one step further, and using bullet points, there emerges four possibilities:

  • Started badly, ended badly
  • Started well, ended badly
  • Started badly, ended well
  • Started well, ended well

I already looked at this at the beginning of the year when we considered our resolve for a new year, or if you prefer, new year’s resolutions.

I repeat mention of it today simply to remind us all that I believe how you end is of utmost importance. It’s often the legacy you leave more than anything you did previously. And the Bible is filled with scriptures that speak of continuing, abiding and enduring to the end. Of faithfulness, and not giving up.

In the past two years or so we’ve seen pastors and leaders who, when they die, their account before God may be cleaned by the remembered-no-more grace of God (provided they sought his forgiveness), but their Wikipedia article is going to reflect times of controversy, scandal or failure.

I hope that you and I are thinking in terms of our legacy.


1 Comment »

  1. Yes, finish well! As you already know, I’ve been around the block in the Church for a vast majority of my life. There have been failures…there have been times where I haven’t finished a season well. I vowed to the Lord that I would end the season I’m in well. I pray daily that I can bring my best to the people I serve and love. I pray daily that I can honor Jesus in my heart but in all of my actions in our community. And I pray daily that I can hear those words, “well done, my good and faithful servant” when I finally choose to leave the professional ministry. We can all imagine the “weariness” that anyone would have if they observed and “judged” the sum total of our leadership journeys. Ministry is more about endurance and abiding than it is performance and even excellence. Good post, Paul!

    Comment by rdugall — October 3, 2019 @ 10:46 am

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