I wasn’t as prepared as I should’ve been when I competed in my first triathlon. About halfway through the bike part of the race, my mind switched from placing in my age bracket to completing the race. All I wanted to do was finish the course. I didn’t end up last but he was breathing down my back as we huffed and puffed to the finish line. Quitting crossed my mind several times but I’m glad I stuck with it.
And now, behold, I am going to Jerusalem, constrained by the Spirit, not knowing what will happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit testifies to me in every city that imprisonment and afflictions await me. But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.
All About the Gospel
Paul was a man on a mission. Everything else, except for preaching the Gospel, was meaningless. As he speaks to the Elders in Ephesus for the last time, he knows that death is on his doorstep as he heads to Jerusalem. He could avoid it, but that would take him off the course that God set him on. The elders begged him to stay away from Israel, but he was undeterred. He could’ve had a cushy ministry with them, but that was not in the cards.
Prize Goes to Those who Finish
Most of us are really good at starting things, but we are not so good at finishing them. Paul was set on finishing the course. Prison and affliction were waiting for him, but he didn’t quit. We need to finish the course. The church is littered with people who were lead by the Holy Spirit to do something only to give it up once it got hard. The prize only goes to those who finish. Jesus said that the rewards of heaven go to those who remained faithful and endured to the end. Have you quit something that God wanted you to accomplish? Go back and finish it.
Part of the problem with finishing the course is that we get overwhelmed with the big picture. We see all of the tasks that have to be completed, and we get discouraged. Instead, we should focus on the next few steps. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and the journey of a thousand miles starts with the first step. Take each day as it comes. Complete a few tasks each day, and pretty soon the starting line will be in the distance, and the finish line will be with in sight.