Today’s scripture reading:
As for me, my life has already been poured out as an offering to God. The time of my death is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. And now the prize awaits me—the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on the day of his return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to his appearing.
2 Timothy 4:6-8
Many people think about the last years of life as an opportunity to relax. But this does not fit with God’s purpose for us; He wants us to serve Him all the days of our lives.
Let’s look at the apostle Paul’s journey and explore what it means to finish well. He spent time pouring into others until the very end of his life. Consider the letters he wrote to Timothy from prison prior to being executed. In every season of life, God calls us to serve others.
And notice how, when writing about his life, Paul chose words descriptive of a battle. He understood the human struggle against sin as well as the challenges of pain and persecution in the trials we all face—even in doing kingdom work like preaching Christ to a fiercely resistant society.
This godly servant’s life was also marked by surrender. His mindset is obvious in these words: “Present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship” (Rom. 12:1). He was not afraid of the Roman emperor Nero, nor was he struggling to stay alive. Paul trusted God to determine everything about his life, including where he would go, what he would do, and when he would die. Death did not scare him, because he knew he would dwell with Jesus forever.
God doesn’t require us to have perfect lives in order to finish strong. We can live abundantly and be ready to meet our Maker by surrendering, walking victoriously with Christ, and serving others. The question is, if Jesus called you home today, would you—like Paul—be confident that you lived well until the end?