Over the past six weeks a single phrase has been uttered in the Gomez house more than any other. My wife and I have been persistent in reminding one another of the need to ‘finish well’ as our time at Carlisle Wesleyan was drawing to a close. I took extra care to make sure my study habits and the resulting times of preaching were as excellent and prayed-up as possible. We were purposed in granting care and counsel to those in need. We went out of our way to demonstrate love in as many tangible ways as possible. All of this because we knew of the temptation, when ‘the end’ is in sight, to simply “coast” until things wrap up.
Yesterday was my last official day (though there are still some lose administrative ends to be cared for) as Carlisle Wesleyan’s pastor. I think we finished well.
But that wasn’t the most significant ‘job well done’ I was a part of yesterday.
A good friend, Deemer, also finished well. He finished so well, in fact, I’m beyond-a-doubt certain he heard the sweetest words any of us will ever hear: yesterday at about 2:45 in the afternoon, he heard, “Well done. You have been my good and faithful servant. Well done!” I wish I could have been there when Deemer was finally free of the prison of his own body… when he was released from the claws of ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) and able to move, to breathe, to touch, to speak, to walk on his own… when he finally saw the One he has followed so faithfully.
Deemer finished well—in his last days he, literally, took great pains to communicate his love and care for those around them and to share that his faith in Christ remained steadfast even in the dark, stormy place he found himself. He offered hospitality, shared his wisdom, and even injected humor… though each of those things took more energy and focus than I can begin to fathom. He brought glory to the name of Christ. He could have ‘coasted’ until the end came. He could have been self-focused, irritable, mournful, and angry… and no one would have thought otherwise; but he wasn’t any of those things. He finished well.
It makes my own feeble attempt at ‘finishing well’ seem inconsequential.
And I am reminded of why the death of his saints is a precious thing to God.