Paul shares lessons about fin­ish­ing the race


I’m sure about this: the one who started a good work in you will stay with you to com­plete the job by the day of Christ Je­sus.

Philip­pi­ans 1:6

(Com­mon English Bi­ble)

I re­mem­ber many lessons from when I was grow­ing up. We learned to turn off lights when we leave the room, to clean up af­ter our­selves, and to do an hon­est day’s work for an hon­est day’s pay.

My par­ents and grand­mother taught us that if any­thing is worth do­ing, it’s worth do­ing right, and if you take time to do some­thing right the first time, you will save time in the long run by not hav­ing to do it again.

But I think one of the most im­por­tant lessons I learned was to fin­ish what I start.

In fact, it was so in­grained into my be­hav­ior that even to­day, I find it dif­fi­cult to stop in the mid­dle of any­thing – whether it’s play­ing a piece on the pi­ano or fin­ish­ing a sen­tence in a con­ver­sa­tion.

I don’t want to start projects I can’t fin­ish quickly be­cause I hate to leave any- thing un­done.

The Apos­tle Paul also be­lieved in fin­ish­ing what he started. He went on three long mis­sion­ary jour- neys, some­times re­vis­it­ing churches he had es­tab­lished dur­ing ear­lier mis­sions to make cer­tain that they were con­tin­u­ing in their mis­sion and work of spread­ing the Gospel of Je­sus Christ.

He be­lieved in en­cour­ag­ing oth­ers to stay com­mit­ted, to fin­ish the race, to hang in there.

He of­ten talked about fin­ish­ing the race with en­durance – mean­ing that we should not give up on liv­ing for Je­sus, no mat­ter how hard or in­con­ve­nient it may seem or how much per­se­cu­tion we face.

The fu­ture of Chris­tian- ity de­pends on us telling oth­ers about Je­sus and what he means to us.

Paul re­minds us that God will fin­ish the good work be­gun in us. God does not leave us un­fin­ished, but will com­plete what God started in us.

When it comes to liv­ing for Je­sus, what have you for­got­ten in your life or left un­done? What about in your day?

Do you get to the end of your day and won­der what you did for God dur­ing the time God has given you each day?

Re­mem­ber that God be- gan a good work in you and will bring it to com­ple­tion, and that as you trust God each day, God will con­tinue that work in you as you live for the Lord. Don’t give up.

Don’t grow weary. Keep on liv­ing for Je­sus!

How will you trust God to con­tinue the work of Grace in your life to­day?

Rev. Jan McCoy is the as­so­ciate pas­tor of Cov­ing­ton First United Methodist Church in down­town Cov­ing­ton. She may be reached at

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