Was doing QT the other day, and the verse was Acts 26:19, which reads, "Therefore, King Aggripa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision." This was spoken by Paul, in the court of one of the Roman rulers of Israel I think.
Anyway, the passage below exhorted us to remember that we should not just start well, but end well too. Which immediately reminded me of a sermon that Pastor Tweeks gave quite a long time ago. In it, he said that not only should we start well, which is simple enough, but that we should also run well, which is certainly harder, and finally, to end well, which, needless to say, requires a certain degree of self-discipline and sacrifice.
I mean, I guess most people can start off well. If you notice, very often, it's the converted who are filled with the fervor of God. So starting off well is well, relatively easy, since they are convicted, with a cause etc etc.
Continuing will be harder. You see, for example, in a war, some leaders work by working their men up to a murderous rage. Then their men can fight all day and a half, with no thoughts of their own safety, to just keep on killing the enemy. But after that, when the tiredness sets in, when they start to slow down, they stop and take check, and their fighting spirit, which was built up so quickly, will also disintegrate just as quickly; a burnout. They've expended all their energy, and will start to feel disillusioned. And that can be a fatal mistake for any Christian to make. To burn so bright, but so fast, like a supernova that lights up the sky, but dies after a few days. Thankfully, our Lord can sustain us, when we're tired, weary, heartbroken, sian... He can take us in, and build us up again.
Finally, to end well. After so long, having served for maybe, 45 years, you start to get complacent, to relax your guard a little, and before you know it, Wham! You've fallen away. King Solomon certainly experienced that. The wisest man on earth, he started great, asking that God give him a gift that would enable him to lead his people in the ways of the Lord. He ran well, becoming rich and powerful, and building the temple of God in all it's splendor, dedicating so much of his wealth and attributing his knowledge to God. But, he fell away; swayed and corrupted by his multitude of foreign wives. Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
So remember, it's not just part of the race that God is looking at, it's the whole thing.
While we're on about running, can we please have more people come down for the running at Woodlands Stadium? Publicized in Youth min already, but it is rather depressing when only a few people come down. (Usually, it's less than the fingers on a hand. I hope it won't ever come down to the point were me and Frankie sit there, I look at him, he look at me...)