“Beginning well is a momentary thing; finishing well is a lifelong thing.” I’m in a season of endings in my life. The school year is wrapping up. It was my first year in Hallsville ISD, and my first year teaching Junior High. I’ve made mistakes, learned some valuable lessons, and gotten to know and love many young people in our community. As I finish out my days with this group of students, I wonder if I’ve had a positive impact on them. What more do I need to give them? Are they ready?
At home, our family is about to launch our oldest child into the world. I realize we will always be his parents, but our time of actively parenting him is drawing to a close. Now the true test will come: will he soar? How do I release him gracefully? Is he ready? Am I ready?
Finally, my husband begins his last semester of nursing school next week. Since he quit his full-time job in 2015, we’ve faced many physical and financial difficulties in the pursuit of this degree. Two years feels more like two decades. We’re both weary of the stress and strain of the undertaking. I daily battle weakness and doubt that we can make this final push with food in our kids’ bellies and patience and understanding for one another in our hearts. Are we ready? ABSOLUTELY! But it seems like that day will never come. In all these circumstances I want to finish well.
Matthew 26 chronicles Jesus’s last days before the crucifixion. It’s clear from this passage and numerous others that He was aware of what would transpire in Jerusalem. His days with the disciples were ending and to complete this journey would mean enduring the agony of the cross. So, what did He do? How did He finish?
He taught. Not in bold, sermon-on-the-mount fashion, but as He went. We read that, “He said, “He answered,” “He told,” “He replied,” “He rebuked,” Even in His last moments and facing ultimate suffering and death, He continues to live out His mission by investing in others. His supreme selflessness is our example.
He prayed. He took time to talk to the Father. He sought support from His disciples to join Him in prayer (we won’t go into their total failure in that regard). From the parallel passage in John we know that here, too, He demonstrates His selflessness by praying for His disciples, for you, and for me. In Matthew, we read only that He earnestly and repeatedly asks God to, “allow the cup to pass from me.” When this request was not granted….
He obeyed. “Yet not as I will, but as you will,” were the words he spoke. He submits to the Father’s will in all things and obeys His voice alone.
In looking at my Savior’s final days, I’ve been strengthened to finish well. So that I may say with Paul, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.”
Today’s author: Jessica Sullens