The finish line is the line marking the end of a race. When I think of a finish line, I think of the checkered finish line in the road and the checkered flag at the Daytona 500. Or, the ribbon stretched across the finish at a marathon race. In our lives, we see finish lines of all types and for all varieties of activities. You can have finish lines that are represented by actual lines, or finish lines that are a timeclock ticking down to 0:00 in a sporting contest. In your workplace you may have finish lines that include due dates or deadlines. Your ultimate work finish line may be the day you retire and walk out of the office for the last time with a few boxes of awards, plaques, photos and personal items. On your way to the work finish line you may have set up other finish lines along the way towards retirement including a target 401K balance or a certain number of years of service for a pension.
Most often we run a race to be one of the winners. We all would like to have a gold, silver or bronze medal hung around our necks at the finish line. Some races are ran with the goal of just getting to the finish line with a sense of accomplishment for our grit and determination to see the task completed. I've never run a marathon, but I'm sure just getting across that finish line is a prize in itself. Some finish lines are never reached. Striving for the finish line of a perfect lawn, a perfect home and a perfect life can never be completed. There will always be another weed pop up in the lawn or issue that needs to be fixed in our home or life. The finish line can get close then get pushed far ahead. The pursuit of the finish line in these cases can lead one to frustration and stress that does not add to your quality of life.
My wife and I have been in Houston since last October at MD Anderson for her cancer treatment. This particular task has been the hardest we have been through but the finish line is in sight. She has crossed one finish line with the ringing of the bell at the conclusion of her chemotherapy treatments. The second finish line is less than four weeks away with another bell to be rung after radiation treatments are done. I know she can't wait to cross that finish line and ring that bell! As all finish lines, this one will be the end of a temporary situation that will soon be replaced with new experiences and excitement and new finish lines to strive for! This finish line is one of those that is a great accomplishment and comes with no medal. But, it comes with a prize of getting a new start on the next chapter of life.
Our entire life is a long race with a finish line at the end. Some race towards it with reckless abandon and no thoughts or concern about the others in the race. Some race with compassion and love and help others along the way. As we travel on our race path of life, we must focus on the race journey and not the race end. Life has been compared to a train ride on which you need to enjoy the scenery on the way to the last stop. Often it is hard not to be in a hurry to reach the finish line and check the task off of our to do list. I am as guilty as the next in this regard and am often thinking of "what's next" before completing "what's now".
As we go through this short life of ours we all need to slow down, smell the roses and enjoy the scenery while running the good race. One definition of "run a good race" is to live one's life in an ethical, virtuous, and spiritually fulfilling manner.
2 Timothy 4:7-8 says I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 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.
So, get out there and run your races, whatever they may be, and remember to run it well!