Finish the Race, Complete the Task

run the race          Scripture Reference: Acts 20: 13-36
Paul, also known as Saul, lived a colorful life up until his conversion. Many remember him as the man who persecuted Christians before devoting himself to serving the Messiah wholeheartedly. In spite of all, Paul had a destiny to fulfill.

During his third missionary trip, he stayed a few days in Miletus. While there, he sent for the elders of the church in Ephesus. Paul had closely labored with these men, and anticipating that he would not see them again, he wanted to speak to them one last time. He had to make his farewell speech as he prepared to go to the next stage in his life.
In Acts 20: 22-24, Paul says:

“And now, compelled by the Spirit, … the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me.  However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.

Consider Paul’s words about finishing the race and your own destiny.

  • How would you know you were any closer to your destiny?
  • Like Paul, have you finished the race and completed the task?

First, let’s define a race.

  • A race is a contest of speed; any contest or competition; urgent need, responsibility, effort, etc., as when time is short or a solution is imperative. Onward movement.

Therefore, when it comes to your future, you’re not just talking about pursuing something in order to obtain it; you’re talking about going after it — and quickly. When a deadline, goal, or event approaches, it takes on a different feel and look. You see it through different eyes. So, let’s consider the situations below and see if you find yourself in any or all of them.

7 CHARACTERISTICS OF A TRANSITION INTO DESTINY

  1. The Longer it Takes to Transition, the More Impossible it Seems. Remember Hannah? She wanted a baby desperately. I wonder if she ever had a moment of wanting to lose hope or give up. What about you? This is the stage of “Why is it taking so long?”
  2. While Waiting on the Next Assignment, You Serve with Great Humility and Tears. You believe something new heads your way and you anticipate the new start with eager excitement. However, you have yet to be released from your current position. You feel caught between rebellion and obedience, and this emotional struggle can lead to a sense of going through the motions. You keep serving through the tears, knowing the next assignment lies around the corner. Despite knowing the purpose of being where you are, you also can’t wait for that purpose to end so you can move on.
  3. Transitions for the Future Require “Now Actions” and Faith for the Unknown. Things can reach a place where even though you are still in a “now” situation, you have to start preparing for the “later.” That may involve setting time and money aside, having new experiences, taking risks, taking new assignments, developing new relationships, etc.
  4. Transitions Require that You be Weaned. (Emotionally, Spiritually, etc.) Here, you may start to sense withdrawal from a situation. YOU ARE NO LONGER THE SAME PERSON. When the time to move on arrives, changes within begin to happen. You must be prepared to let it go. We may need someone else to fill our shoes in a position or take over a responsibility so we can focus on other things, but we won’t let them because we are afraid of what we might lose.
  5.  Your Desires Will Have to be Laid Down for a Greater Purpose. Reminder. It’s not all about you — it’s about God. Whether in a now or later situation, your destiny will supply your needs and those of others. Sometimes we can’t move on when we want to because we have to complete the task at hand. It can be frustrating, but know that you serve a greater purpose. Remember, YOUR LIFE SHOULD TESTIFY OF THE GOSPEL OF GOD’S GRACE.
  6. Transitions Require that You Finish the Task at Hand Before Moving On. Are things in place for me to leave? Is the house in order? How is my attitude regarding this task? Am I complaining? Have you finished those projects? Have you trained people to fill the position you vacate?
  7.  Transitions Require a “Farewell” to Your Old Assignment and a “Hello” to Your New One. A farewell implies a goodbye and maybe a ceremony to show the transition of one phase to another. You will know when the time to say “goodbye” to your now and “hello” to your later arrives.

Paul says in 2 Timothy, that he indeed finished the race.

2 Timothy 4:7-8 New International Version (NIV)
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store 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 longed for his appearing

Paul finished — but he is not alone in attaining the reward, so will others.

He completed the task — finished the race.

There was much in store for him as a result of it.

What lies in store for you once you finish your race and complete the task?

 

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