The End.

The End.  What do those words really mean?  They show up in movies, cartoons, and books; in games, trips, and relationships, but what do they really mean?

Since this is the end of the semester, the end of the school year (perhaps the most difficult school year of my entire life), the end of softball season, and even the end of my son’s high school education I have been thinking a lot lately about what it means to end.

Some things we don’t like to end, and as I have said in another post, even things that we don’t like, we never do anything, knowingly, for the last time without a feeling of sadness.  I had not played softball in almost fifteen years but I was convinced to come out and play in the church league this year with Josiah.  He is much, much better already than I ever was or ever will be, and when the last game came around, despite the fact that I played terribly, perhaps the worst player in the league, I still hated for it to end. 

It was fun.  It was community.  It was people encouraging each other, laughing and crying, shouting and yelling.  It was a wonderful time and no matter how many times I fell down (at least once a game); no matter how many times I ran up on the person who was on base in front of me (three games in a row); no matter how many times I struck out swinging in slow pitch softball (too many to count) I still had fun.  Isn’t that what church is supposed to be like?

Ending though is not just about stopping wherever you are; it takes real planning, endurance, and practice to end well.  At the end of the school year I always think back to the start of the year and realize how many students started out in my Greek class and then dropped out (usually about 25%).  I think about how so many of them come into class the first day and tell me how excited they are and how they are going to work as hard as they need to in order to do well in the class; then a few weeks go by and the material becomes a little more difficult, the vocabulary becomes a higher number of words, the number of inflected forms becomes more complex and some of those who said they were going to do whatever they could, drop the class.  They failed to end well.

The same was true of the softball season.  Some of those players who had shown a great deal of control all season, when it came to the championship game, lost that control.  This loss of control cost much more than the game, it cost them their testimony.  After such a wonderful season, why not finish well?  Because finishing well is hard.

We are all ending something and starting something else.  God calls us to end what we started well, so that we can start something new properly.  Sure, this was a tough year in many different ways, but God does not call us to finish well when things go well, but to finish well when things are difficult.

Some of us have more yesterdays than tomorrows in our lives.  We know that we will one day be finishing up not just a school year or a softball season, but our time here on earth.  What do you want to be said about you?  How about “ was the kind of person who could be depended on not just to start with enthusiasm, but to finish well.” With the blessing of our Lord Christ, we come to “the end” and hear a “well done . . .”

Finish Well,