The Latest Word from John Ed Mathison

It was the most combined yards on one play in a college football game.  I am not sure it is a record, but it probably is – 178 yards.  That’s right 178 combined yards on one play.

It came on Saturday, November 22, when Utah was playing Oregon.  The Utes wide receiver Kaelin Clay made a tremendous run of 79 yards.  He started celebrating a little early and dropped the ball on the one-yard-line.

While Kaelin and his teammates were celebrating in the end zone, an Oregon Duck player, Joe Walker, picked the ball up and ran 99 yards in the opposite direction for the score.  He actually had most of his team escorting him to the end zone.

178 combined yards on one play.  What a picture.  One team is in one end zone celebrating what they thought was a touchdown, but their player failed to finish the run.  The opposing team is in the other end zone celebrating the alert play of capitalizing on somebody’s mistake who celebrated too early and didn’t finish.

Life is about finishing.  It is about completing the task.  It is about going the distance.  99 yards in football doesn’t count if you don’t cross the goal line.

I have seen a lot of races where people start celebrating before they cross the finish line.  Someone recently showed me a video clip of several cases where cyclists, runners, speed skaters, race car drivers, and other athletes started celebrating thinking that they were going to win.  All of a sudden somebody passes them and claims first place.

A lot of sports teams play good for 99% of the game, but they fail to finish.  Look what one second cost Alabama in 2013, and just a snap cost Auburn in 2014.  Both had great teams and great opportunities, but failing to finish cost both teams.

When Paul came to the end of his life, he writes, “I fought a good fight.  I have kept the faith.  I have finished the course.”  (II Timothy 4:7)  Paul finished.

Paul had a lot of opportunities to give up and quit.  He was beaten, shipwrecked, stoned, imprisoned, hungry, rejected, misunderstood – just read the long litany of things that happened to him in II Corinthians 11:23-33.  But none of these things deterred him from finishing his task.

C. S. Lewis once wrote that one of Satan’s greatest strategies is to get Christians to become preoccupied with their hardships and their failures – then Satan will stroll on to victory.  Don’t let anything stop you from finishing strong!

The great old Methodist Preacher Sam Jones once said, “I am never going to stop.  I am never going to quit.  I am going to keep serving and growing until I hear the pearly gates click behind me.”

Do you have some things you need to finish before 2014 ends?  Any unfinished business, dreams, plans, service projects, giving opportunities, ministry commitments?  Finish!

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