As I get older, the idea of “finishing well” is more and more on my mind. When I was a 21 year old church planter I didn’t think about this much, but now that I am 52 (Thomas Merton said, “Fifty is the beginning of old.”) I think about it a lot. I want to reach the end of my life happy and content, surrounded by loved ones who are happy and content with who I have been in their lives: husband, father, friend, pastor. Whether you are 16 or 60, you must have a roadmap to follow to take you to the end.
Here are five priorities, in order of importance, that will insure you finish well:
#1 Stay close to Jesus.
You can’t stay close to Jesus without spending time alone with Jesus. Spending time talking about Jesus is not the same as spending time alone with Jesus. Doing things for Jesus is not the same as spending time alone with Jesus.
#2 Stay close to your spouse.
You can’t stay close to your spouse without spending meaningful time with your spouse. Since this is primarily addressed to those who are married, please note that #2 falls under #1.
#3 Stay close to your children.
You can’t stay close to your children without spending quality time with your children. Since this is primarily addressed to those with children, please note that #3 falls under 1-2.
#4 Stay close to your church.
Since this is primarily addressed to pastors, please note that point #4 falls under 1-3. Even if you are not a pastor… pay attention to the order.
#5 Stay close to your tribe.
By “tribe” I mean the denomination you are affiliated with. Once again, this relates more to pastors than non-pastors. Denominations are like churches; they are always looking for volunteers. Since this is primarily addressed to pastors who are part of a denomination, please note that #5 falls under 1-4. Don’t say yes to your denomination (no matter how flattered it makes you feel) if you are already over-worked at your church.
What other priorities help us finish well?