As Paul waited in his prison cell for his execution, he wrote his last will and testament to his beloved Timothy. Paul’s pilgrimage was coming to an end and the time of his departure was at hand. He was passing the baton to younger men to carry on the defense and confirmation of the gospel which had been Paul’s sole objective over the last thirty years. As he looked back and reflected on the legacy, he was leaving he could boldly say; “I have fought a good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” (II Timothy 4:7)
He could declare this fact with absolute assurance even though he had experienced many obstacles, trials and hardships along the way. He didn’t say that he had never entertained any doubts or uncertainties along the way. He didn't say that he had never worried, been depressed or ever had any character flaws. He didn't proclaim that he had never complained, murmured or experienced discontent. He didn’t say he had won every battle, never taken a beating or hadn’t been pulled through a knot-hole backwards more times than he could remember. He didn’t say he had never grown weary at times or stumbled a few times during the race that had been set before him. He was acutely aware of his failures, his mistakes, his ministerial blunders and his character flaws along the way. His ministry was not perfect and his testimony was not flawless, but when all was said and done and he had crossed the finish line he could confidently say he had finished the race, fought the good fight and had kept the faith!
When the race is over what will really matter the most is not how many times we stumbled, how many times we wondered if we would make it or how awkwardly we ran but whether we finished the race. it’s all about keeping the faith, running the race with patient endurance and looking steadfastly to Jesus. When all is said and done it’s not about winning the race that counts but finishing the race. What more could any of us hope for at the finish line?