This is the time of year when students and teachers (both home and campus) tend to find their strength and focus waning. We’re almost done with the school year, we reason, how critical is what we are learning in these last couple of weeks?
As a public school teacher, I saw this end-of-the-year malaise take over many otherwise good teachers. They were starting to pack up their rooms two weeks early and going light on assignments to make the end-of-the-year grading easier. Students stopped doing their assignments or at least started slacking off.
I’d like us to do just the opposite. Runners in a race, horses in the Kentucky Derby, boxers approaching the bell; all bear down to finish strong, score every point they can in the last few moments, and come out on top of their rivals. In football and basketball, teams do their two minute drills  to maximize the final scoring opportunities. While these last three weeks might not be mission critical as far as grades go, they definitely shape the way our students will finish everything they do the rest of their lives. If they put things into high gear to finish strong each year, they will develop a habit of finishing strong in future jobs and ministries. Or they develop a habit of being a Short Timer. 
That was a term used in farming country in Missouri. Short Timers were seen for what they were — just people putting in their time until the job was over. They lacked any motivation. Seldom paid attention to details. And gave only about half of what they had done at the start of the job. Short Timers minds were already on the next thing on the horizon. No one had much respect for the Short Timer.
Strong finishers are just the opposite. Their job is attached to their mission in life — glorifying God with their entire lives. It was the strong finish that sets them apart from others. Colleagues might come up to the strong finisher and ask, “Why are you still busting yourself for this job? You’re out of here soon anyway?” This is especially asked when one’s termination is due to unfairness.  But how you work when there is no earthly incentive shines brightly in the darkest circumstances. There is no positive testimony when you gripe and complain about how you are being treated or when you slack off since you are almost out of the class/job/ministry any way. Let’s train our children to finish strong because we are working for the only boss that matters — the Lord Jesus Christ. Colossians 3:23-24 is just as true on your first day as on your last day.
Tips for Finishing Strong:
  • Resolve to focus on the end goal of finishing well.
  • Don’t daydream about the summer. While it is exciting to talk about the upcoming vacation, too much dwelling on it sucks the energy out of pushing yourself to the finish line.
  • Pay attention to the closing details — what assignments have yet to be completed, have I gathered up all the components of a project so that it all gets turned in and completed?
  • Don’t look at what others are doing. Work for that audience of One.
  • Expect that it is hard to make it across the finish line. Don’t let this discourage you. There is time to rest when the race is done.
  • Remind each other of the 5K motto from 2 Timothy 4:7-8, I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up 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 loved His appearing.”
Strong Finisher or Short Timer? Our choices and attitudes are shaped when we are young. May I encourage you to use these closing weeks every year to shape your child(ren) and to lead them in the way that they should go.
God’s best, Christopher
0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *