Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "At Thy Feet Our God And Father"1 (Lyrics)
John 13:1b – He had loved his disciples during his ministry on earth, and now he loved them to the very end. (NLT)
I knew that I was leaving, but I had a job to do.
A textile mill wasn't on my list of places to work when I moved to Greenwood, South Carolina, USA, in the early 1980s. Greenwood was a textile city with mills scattered all over the town and in surrounding towns. I ended up where I didn't want to work, and for the next three years, endured the noise, dust, and aggravation of running looms in the weave room.
Then, a layoff and a callback placed me in another department. Within a few months, I was promoted to third shift overseer. I was also hearing God's call into full-time ministry, which meant leaving for college. I was excited about the venture ahead — and about leaving the job that I disliked. But my parents had instilled in me a strict work ethic, so I finished well by doing my best until the last minute that I was on the clock.
Jesus did, too. The Father gave Him a job, which involved coming to a sin-cursed world, demonstrating how God wanted people to live, inviting people to trust Him as Saviour and to receive His forgiveness, and finally, dying on a cross for the world's sins. Though He felt fear and anxiety over how His life would end — even asking the Father if it could be done some other way — He finished well by obeying the Father's plan.
As His followers, Jesus wants us to finish well the work that He has left us: loving, sharing, and serving others in His name until the end of our lives or until He returns.
Finishing well involves doing the right thing. Doing the right thing isn't always easy, but it's the definition of integrity, and it manifests itself in a person of character. I can finish my task well when others are looking or when it's a part of my job description, but integrity means finishing well when no one is looking — just because it's the right thing to do.
Finishing well also entails perseverance. Persevering is sometimes complicated. Doing so takes energy that I don't seem to have, wisdom that I don't appear to possess, courage that I can't seem to muster, and obedience that I sometimes don't want to give. God, however, can provide all of this and more so that I can move ahead to the finish line.
Let's not stop short of doing our best for God. Let's trust Him to help us finish well.
Prayer: Father, give us the grace, courage, faith, and stamina to finish well for You. Amen.