“It does not matter how you start if you do not finish!” Maybe you have heard this exhortation at a pastor’s conference or some kind of training session for pastors. The speaker is implying that if one is to win a race they must not only start strong, but they have to finish the race. Let us think about the phrase in a more holistic light, true it does not matter how you start if you do not finish, but it does matter how you start if you plan on finishing well.
Last summer the world’s eyes were on London, England and the start of the 2012 Summer Olympics. We had students and professors that went to England to study, sightsee, and most importantly seek opportunities to share the gospel with the thousands of people embarking on the region. Since 2008, the sprinting world has been amazed by the feats of sprinter Usain Bolt. He has been nearly unbeatable in the 100 meter and 200 meter sprints. On August 28, 2011 at the world championships held in South Korea, the only real question heading into the 100 meter event was whether or not Bolt would best his own world record time. The only problem was Bolt jumped just before the firing of the starter’s pistol and before the race even got started he was disqualified. One might also remember the name of sprinter Ben Johnson. He had won the Olympic Gold medal in the 100 meter, only to have it stripped away because of his use of banned substances.
It matters how we start, it matters how we run and it matters not only that we finish, but how we finish. The purpose of the series of blogs over the next few weeks is to help the reader gain an understanding of what it means to be called to the ministry, how to discern that call, and how to guard one’s character in order to live out that call from beginning to end. There must be a firm foundation on which to build a lifetime of ministry. If not, a minister may finish poorly, or be disqualified before finishing at all.
Start well, run well, finish well!
Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:12-14)