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Unfinished Business

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Remember the popular vegetable juice commercial? After drinking a different brand, the person realized his mistake and exclaimed, “Wow, I could have had a V8!” Someone said that hindsight is always 20/20. At critical transition points, I, too, tend to reevaluate my efforts in my role, note lessons learned and look ahead to the next chapter. Now is no exception.

As I look forward to passing the baton to our next president, I’m watching for the “shoulda, woulda, coulda’s.” Only this time it is a little different. The scope of my thinking extends all the way back to when I first heard the Lord’s call to move from the marketplace to vocational ministry. I’m wondering if I’ve left anything undone or incomplete.

While there will always be decisions I’d change or things I’d do differently, the unfinished business I’m noticing is something far more significant. This business has captured the attention of many great men in history, and it has captivated me. I’ll likely never completely reach my goal this side of heaven, but I will pursue it the rest of my days.

Some things will always be a work in progress, and this is one of them: I’d like to know and experience Christ more thoroughly, deeply, powerfully and fully! When I think of those who have walked with Jesus much more closely than I have, I believe I see the same longing in their eyes. The apostle Paul expressed his heart in the letter he wrote to the church in Philippi—and I resonate with his words:

  • I understand that God began and continues His work in me (1:6).
  • I believe that I’m ready to live or die (I’ve reached my threescore and ten!) (1:20–21).
  • I want to extend to others the grace that has been given to me (2:1–5).
  • I am determined not to be a complainer (2:14).
  • I want to find my joy in the Lord (3:1; 4:4).
  • When I give my anxious moments to God, He gives me peace (4:6–7).
  • I’ve learned to be content in Christ, apart from external circumstances (4:11–13).

Yet there is another part of this great letter that I’ll strive to apply the rest of my life. Paul said it like this:

  • “I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” (3:8).
  • “I want to know Christ” (3:10).
  • “. . . but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me” (3:12).
  • “But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead” (3:13).
  • “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (3:14).

Some have asked me what I’ll do in “retirement.” Well, here’s my answer: I plan to run. I’m compelled to pursue the One who took hold of me. The picture in Philippians 3:13–14 is of an athlete—straining and leaning forward—in pursuit of the prize. I don’t plan to rest.

Will you join me in my pursuit? We’ll be in great company! The author of Hebrews put it this way:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart (12:1–3).

Alliance Core Values

  • Lost people matter to God. He wants them found. Luke 19:10
  • Prayer is the primary work of God’s people. Phil. 4:6–7
  • Everything we have belongs to God. We are His stewards. 1 Chron. 29:14
  • Knowing and obeying God’s Word is fundamental to all true success. Josh. 1:8
  • Completing the Great Commission will require the mobilization of every fully devoted disciple. Matt. 28:19
  • Without the empowerment of the Holy Spirit, we can accomplish nothing. 1 Cor. 2:4–5
  • Achieving God’s purposes means taking faith-filled risks. This always involves change. Heb. 11:6

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