READ: Zechariah 4, John 19, 2 Peter 3
Finishing well requires the humility of small beginnings. Zechariah 4:10 reminds us not to despise the day of small things. When we reflect on a giant of the faith who passes to glory, we primarily tend to consider the accumulated achievements of his or her life. Great souls build great legacies on a thousand small decisions, a thousand little acts of obedience. No man or woman starts great in the kingdom and they do not finish well unless they start small. The foundation has to be simple, solid, and strong if the life is to speak long after it is dead. It is the subterranean start, the unseen humble beginning which supports the greatest lives, the lives that end with enduring honor.
Finishing well requires the power of the Holy Spirit. It is not sheer willpower that gets us to the end our race–our spiritual race. A spirit race requires Spirit fuel, which is why Zechariah reminds us: “Not by might, not by power, but by my Spirit says the Lord of hosts” (v. 6). It is not our marshaled strength that gets us to the end of our life blameless. It is the power of the Lord of angel armies. The forces of evil that would cause us to fail are too strong and cunning for us to escape their sinister plans unless we are surrounded by God’s elite troops, unless we run the whole race on His energy.
Finishing well requires mountains of grace. The mountainous problems that surround us are made flat in the end by grace alone (Zech. 4:7). Our salvation is by grace through faith, as is our completion. It is the grace of God alone that gets us through this fallen world pure. Grace never denies or circumvents our effort and intentional discipline, but neither can we rely on our works (disciplines, accountability partners, scripture memorization, submission to authority, safeguards, etc.) to get us to the end sin-free. Those who finish well have not been more lucky or determined than those who stumbled at the end; they have simply been graced by God. When we breathe our last breath, it should be used to shout “Grace!”
Finishing well requires the centrality of Jesus. The capstone (v. 7) holds everything together. Those who finish well tend to be those who have lived a Christo-centric life from beginning to end. When we determine to put Jesus at the center, and doggedly keep Him there, finishing well becomes academic. When we have fashioned our lives on the adoration of Jesus, it is not hard to be ushered into His presence at peace with Him and with all humanity. Everything fits together when Jesus is the center. When Jesus has long been the center of our lives, we will die simply “with Jesus at the center” (John 19:18).