For many years I’d take my family to Palm Springs in May for about a week just before the start of camping’s crazy season of summer camps. We’d often be tired of the cold, wet winter and loved sitting (sweating really) by the pool taking it easy. We stayed at my brother-in-law’s place at PGA West in La Quinta—if you’ve ever been on that ride “Soaring Over California” at Disneyland, it is the golf course scene…hole #16, Palmer Private Course.
One of my favorite memories was how we finished up each day. The golf course was empty an hour or so before dark and we’d take walks on the perfectly manicured fairways along beautiful lakes surrounded by palm trees. Our kids loved to sprint barefoot up and down the hills just before heading in for the night. My son Isaac loved to race by us and would shout out “1st Place to Bath Time!!”. It didn’t make a lot of sense, but if it made him feel good and helped get him headed in to a bath before bed—so be it. Well, for some reason that phrase has stuck in our family culture when it comes to finishing something up. I guess it gives us this nice feeling of being on vacation, care-free and bringing closure to something good.
I teach a lot on “finishing well” as a Christian Leader. I was stunned to learn during my doctoral studies under Dr. Clinton at Fuller that over 2/3 of Christian Leaders don’t finish well!! We bomb out for a number of reasons (Money, Power, Sex, Family, Pride, Plateau are the top ones). What a waste when we lose a trained, caring leader!
Finishing Well involves more than just knowing and avoiding those pitfalls. We need respond to Hebrews 13:7 that says,
“Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith”.
When we look at those that have gone before us and finished well, we see they had disciplines in their lives, avoided isolation, had intimate relationships with Jesus and were always learning.
Most of us don’t really think much about the end of our days. But when that day comes for me, I don’t want to be full of regrets or worse– disqualified from the race. I just want to have the same joy and freedom as little Isaac running barefoot across that grass headed to bed! How about you…Want to finish well?