Strong To The Finish

The Latest Word from John Ed Mathison

Doug Amos is a recognized sports leader in the River Region.  He works with the athletic program at Troy and formerly worked with Faulkner.  He hosts a two-hour sports talk show every day.

He recently created a new hour-long radio program entitled “Strong to the Finish” that airs at 7:00 pm on Wednesday nights at 97.5 FM and 101.5 FM and re-airs at 8:00 am on Sunday mornings at 97.5 FM and 101.5 FM and on ESPN The Ticket.  The byline is “Balancing passion for God with love for Sports.”  My friend Jere Beasley sponsors the program.  I was recently Doug’s guest on his program on November 30.  You can listen to this program on (or just Google “Doug Amos Strong to the Finish”).

Strong to the finish – I like that title.  We are now winding down 2016.  All of us set some goals and made some resolutions at the first of this year.  Are we completing them?  We don’t have much time left – will we be strong to the finish, or will we be distracted or settle for something less than what we ought to accomplish?

The Guinness World Records recently designated Israel Kristal as the world’s oldest man at age 113.  He was born in Poland and missed his bar mitzvah – his Jewish coming-of-age ceremony – because World War I was raging when he turned 13.  At age 113, his family, who were Auschwitz survivors, decided it was time to hold this long-overdue bar mitzvah.  His children, grandchildren, and 30 great-grandchildren attended

Israel had a goal, it was interrupted by the circumstances of life, but he never gave up.  I am sure he is the oldest Jewish “boy” to celebrate his bar mitzvah.  He was strong to the finish.

Turia Pitt is an avid physical fitness person.  About 5 years ago, this Australian mining engineer was caught in a brush fire during an outback ultra marathon.  She suffered burns to 65 percent of her body, and she spent 864 days in the hospital.  She had over 200 operations.  She lost the use of 7 of her fingers.

But being a physical fitness fanatic, she set a goal to compete in an Iron Man contest.  Doctors didn’t think she would ever walk again, much less be able to compete, but she had a goal.  She wanted to be strong to the finish.

She recently completed the prestigious Ironman World Championship in Hawaii.  She swam 2.4 miles, cycled 112 miles, and ran 26.2 miles.  She finished in 14 hours 37 minutes and 30 seconds.  She said she was “really bloody proud!”  She had a goal, and she was determined to finish it.  She did.  She was strong to the finish.

A little girl went with her father through the slums of Chicago.  She saw poor children.  She said, “One day I am going to build a house among the poor people so the little children can play in my yard.”  The little girl suffered from spinal curvature which caused tremendous pain.  She went to medical school but had to drop out because of poor health.  She took courses in social service, and finally was able to secure a house in the slums of Chicago.  She had a dream.  She opened her door to the poor and needy of every race and creed.  She later received the Nobel Prize for Peace. 

Her name was Jane Addams, and the Hull House in Chicago put her name in immortality.  She was always faithful to that dream.  She was determined to finish strong.

The Bible says that “finishing is better than starting . . .” (Eccl. 7:8).  At the end of his life, Paul wrote to Timothy, “I fought a good fight, I have finished my course.  I have kept the faith.”  He was strong to the finish. 

What do you need to finish in 2016?  It’s easy to make excuses or be distracted.  Will that keep you from finishing strong?  Is what you settle for worth it?  My dad used to say “If you don’t finish it now, when will you have time to finish it later?”

Be strong to the finish!

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