As I went into 6th grade I had my first chance to play ball for a school team. Basketball tryouts were early in the year and I was PUMPED. I had worked on my shot some and had loved playing in the years before.
So the very first day of tryouts came around and they threw me a curveball. Instead of going right into drills or scrimmages we are told to meet down at the track. Before we did anything in the gym, everyone had to run a timed mile.
Now, I had actually gone through a couple of phases where I ran on my own. Unfortunately it had been awhile and the reality was I was a dude built for strength instead of speed. Let’s just say as a boy, I knew what husky jeans were…you get the picture.
So we take off and everyone jumps out to a quick start, including me. That did not last too long at all and by my third lap I was sucking some serious air. By the end of the last lap, which felt a whole mile by itself, I saw the finish line with the coaches standing there at the end.
Once I had made the last turn, I kicked those thunder thighs into gear and finished with a desperate burst right past the finish line. My time was around 10 minutes…I know, not great, even for a middle school kid.
Feeling down and with my side hurting like crazy, I will never forget the coach’s response. As soon as I had finished I heard him clapping and practically yelling, “Nice finish my man! Nice finish!”
It was a powerful lesson. Even though I was far from the best that day, I look back and see how endurance and running with a purpose really matters. That experience energized me and I ended up playing well during the rest of the tryouts to make the team!
Through that experience it became clear to me that finishing well should be on our minds just as much as getting off to a good start.
We need to approach the next day, week, or year with the end in mind and finish strong.
Our God has an eternal prize, heaven, waiting for us as Christians. He is anxious to tell us, “Nice job! Great finish! You made it all of the way to the end!”
"But the one who endures to the end will be saved." Matthew 24:13