Links Daily Devotional

Finishing Well

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. (2 Timothy 4:7-8, TNIV)

Thirty excellent golfers are taking a deep breath this week. That’s all the rest they get before heading into the Tour Championship and the battle for the FedEx Cup’s $10 million payout, teeing off one week from today.

These PGA Tour players started out the year trying to qualify for this monumental tournament. They fought through injury and weather and travel and slumps to earn enough points to qualify for the top 30. Now they’re refining their games that last little bit before heading to Atlanta and shooting for the top.

As Paul neared the end of his life, he wrote to Timothy about the challenges he had faced and the persevering he had done. He held these up against the promise of eternity and looked forward to a crown of righteousness. Paul was finishing well.

But as in nearly all biblical passages, we find personal application beyond the case of the writer. That is, we all can “win” like Paul, finishing the race well here on earth to receive the greatest gift. Not just Paul, but Timothy and “all who have longed for Christ’s appearing” can receive this grand crown.

When I read this verse, I am reminded of Jesus’ parable of the talents. Three servants were given a trust by the king. Two of these men handled the money well, and for their efforts the king said to each of them, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” Jesus was pointing to these men as pictures for us. We too should aspire to having God say of us, when we come to the end of our lives working on his behalf, “Well done!”

Last month I mentioned how I love the “K” in the acronym LINKS. To be able to kindle compassion for the poor and needy with our Links Players is one of the greatest joys of being a regional director. At the end of a Links Fellowship meeting last week, one of the Links Player told us that God had put it on his heart to explore how we might serve the poor and needy this coming holiday season. He went on to say, “We have all the parties we need to go to, but how about throwing a party for the poor and needy?” You see, this man has it in mind to finish the year well. I like that!

We all find ourselves looking to some end: the end of a project, the end of a term, the end of a year, or perhaps, like Paul, the end of a life. We all see a finish line ahead. So we do very well to ask ourselves, “How will I finish?” Let me give you a hint. The best finishers finish as they began and as they have raced throughout. They keep the kingdom of God central in their minds. There may be golf tournaments to win or sales to close or children to raise. There may be books to write or gardens to plant or paintings to frame. But all of these reside in the midst of the kingdom, and if we can just keep living for the kingdom we’ll find ourselves in the right place to finish all things well, but especially the things that matter most.

Dereck Wong

September 13, 2012

Copyright 2012 Links Players International

The Links Daily Devotional appears Monday-Friday at www.linksplayers.com.