I have been thinking a lot lately about what it means to finish well. My health has not been good the last few months and I started to ask myself (in self pity) “Is this what it is going to be like the rest of my life? Is this what it is like to grow old?” It wasn’t long before I snapped out of it and answered both questions with a resounding “No!”
I am feeling better finally and am doing a lot of things to improve my health. I remind myself of Paul’s admonition to “run the race”. In fact he says of himself at the end of his life that he had run the race. He obviously felt like he had finished well.
When I think of people who finished well I think of my friend Al Knight. Al had a strong sense that Jesus would return during his lifetime and Al lived his life according to that belief. Every day he lived expecting Jesus’ return and he was determined to be found faithful. Al was sometimes chastised by fellow Christians for not thinking enough about tomorrow but Al’s concern was not to hold anything back from today! I remember when I heard of Al’s death, I sat down in shock and grief. I said “Well I guess Jesus didn’t come in Al’s lifetime” My son comforted me with these words “He did, for Al.”
I recall when my dad was very sick; we used to watch old afternoon matinee movies on the television. We liked the old gangster movies. One of our favourites was with Edward G. Robinson who played the gangster Rico. Rico made his way to the top and had everything he ever wanted but he came, as all gangsters eventually do, to an unhappy end. His words “Is this the end of Rico?” convey a fruitlessness that was entirely absent from Paul or Al’s life.
I am determined that I will end well and that means I must end today well! If I take care of today, each day, tomorrow will take care of itself.