Friday, January 8, 2016

Finishing the Course

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith” - 2 Tim. 4:7 It’s 2016 and we’ve all set our usual New Years goals and objectives. Someone defined a “resolution” as “the goals we try to reach during the first two weeks of January.” Funny, but true. But we need goals. We need to set goals to stretch ourselves and reach as far as the Lord allows. But sometimes we don’t reach our objectives. And that’s okay, if we view the journey as the prize. Back in August, three of my favorite football teams set goals as well. All three teams, LSU, Baylor and the Dallas Cowboys, had legitimate, lofty plans to be champions. All three teams were picked to win it all by many. One team even had the potential Heisman trophy winner as their running back. All three teams charged out of the gate and, four games into the season, were on top in the standings! Then, everything changed. Injuries, tougher schedules and fate affected them all. Factors that weren’t predicted back in August, halted the lofty plans. By November, all three teams were out of contention and the Heisman Trophy candidate wasn’t even invited to the Heisman ceremony. Sometimes we set the bar so low that we’re guaranteed not to fail. Sometimes we set the bar so high that we’re guaranteed to fail. But any goal worth setting is a goal with the potential to not be reached. And I know that’s unsettling to us achievers. But success isn’t measured by wins and loses. Success is measured by how well we run the race. We all can be successful runners. But we can’t all finish first. Set goals this year that focus on the race, not the finish line. Set goals that focus on running the course, not winning the medal. Think about your marriage and your family and your career and your friends. Focus on ways you can be used to create quality journeys. True, LSU, Baylor, and the Cowboys won’t be wearing Championship rings this year. But if these teams did their best with what they had, they were winners. The truth is, if I am doing my best with the strength that God has given me, I’m a success. As my friend Wes Neal teaches, “We’re a winner if we “total release” our skills to the best of our God-given ability.” We can all do that one! Paul reminded Timothy to “finish the course” well. He wanted Timothy to understand that a crown waits at the end of the race for all those who love Jesus. Second Timothy 4:8 reads, “In the future 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.” May 2016 be a complete success for you… …whether you win all your games or not. By Eric Joseph Staples ©

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