Summertime! For some of us, it’s almost graduation time; for others, it’s just a summer break. When school ends, we all can’t wait to dive deep into a time of refreshing. And whether that means plunging into the pool or just collapsing onto the trusty old bed (that you haven’t truly enjoyed for months!), let’s all pause for a quick word on fighting and finishing strong, shall we?

For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. 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. (2 Timothy 4:6-8)

Paul was talking about his life in saying that his time had come. Thankfully it isn’t so grave for graduating students, as we are only only ending the season of our lives as students; we will soon depart university halls for the workforce. As for the rest of us, departures might be for great summer destinations or a retreat back to our hometowns and provinces.

You’re probably excited to rest, or not. Maybe something weighs in your heart as the curtains close on you this time. Is it regret? Could I have done better? Is it fear? What will they say about what I have or have not accomplished this time? Is it shame? What face do I show when my hard work is not enough to keep me from falling behind?

If this is you, then here are three words for you today: FIGHT, FINISH, FAITH.

    1. Fight well. Paul says he fought a good fight. Paul did not celebrate because he won, but he had peace, knowing he only needed to fight well.
    2. Finish the race. Paul was a man of many ideas and perhaps it frustrated him to know he could have done more during his time while knowing his own time is limited. There is a course set out for us all and he humbly accepted that the task is not to out-race everyone, but to finish what he started.
    3. Keep the Faith. Paul never said anything about fighting to win and finishing first because he knew that above all, he must only be excellent in faith. He did his best, trusting God in everything and not worrying about the outcome.

We live in a pressure-ridden world and time. Let’s not add any more to ourselves by wanting to do more than what God has required. All we need to do is fight well, finish the race, and keep the faith. And guess what? The Bible says that alone already merits the crown of righteousness. Isn’t it so cool that we get an award simply for participating well in God’s race?