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FINISH - You?re Not Done Until You?re Done 1

Turning Point / David Jeremiah
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October 22, 2020 1:26 pm

FINISH - You?re Not Done Until You?re Done 1

Turning Point / David Jeremiah

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Audio on demand from Vision Christian Media. God has a plan for your future. As you begin to move forward, remember, as with every pursuit, the important part is how you start, but how you finish. Today on Turning Point, Dr David Jeremiah opens God's Word for vivid examples of what it takes to finish strong, no matter your age. From the series forward, here's David to introduce his message, Finish. You're not done until you're done.

Well, today I'm going to talk to you very personally about where I'm in life, where you are in life, and how we follow through with what God has called us to do, all the way to when he takes us home. And it's really an exciting message because for so many we've bought into the, well, the mythology of early retirement and the best life is when you finish doing your work and you get to just sit around for the rest of your life. Nobody wants to do that, and yet that's what everybody looks forward to.

Isn't that strange? We're going to talk about retirement. What does the Bible say about that in this message? And so I'm glad you're with us. We're going to have a good discussion today, and we'll finish it up on Monday. It's called Finish. I wanted to call the title You're Not Done Until You're Dead, but my publisher wouldn't let me do that.

They said, no, that's too harsh. You're not done until you're done, and that's an important thing wherever you are. If you happen to be a little bit later on in life and you've got a little gray hair and maybe you're thinking about hanging it up and not working too hard anymore, I don't want you to think you can't do that, but I want to challenge you that God has a plan for your life, and we're going to talk about it. Well, here we go.

You're not done until you're done, so finish. If you ever get into an unfortunate scrape, you might hire Frank P. Luciana to represent you. He's a razor sharp attorney in Hackensack, New Jersey, just across the Hudson from New York City. You can spot Luciana in the courtroom daily, dressed in a dapper suit with a pocket square, chopping his hands in the air, defending people in trouble.

He does it with energy and effectiveness. Luciana has been defending clients for quite a while. I mean, 45 years ago, a local newspaper claimed he was the city's busiest criminal lawyer.

Twenty-two years ago, the same paper called him a consummate showman and New Jersey's oldest active attorney. Today, Luciana still waxes eloquent before judges and juries at the age of 97. Luciana doesn't rest on his laurels. He said, this is a very consuming profession, and it's taken a lot out of my life. He said, I'm constantly involved in preparing cases, and it's a tremendous strain, both mental and physical.

Physical because when you go to trial, your whole being is obsessed with trying to help the person you represent, and it places your body and mind under tension. When he was asked about his future, Luciana said, I hope God lets me continue doing this. I don't want to retire. I don't want to go to Florida. I just want to do what I'm doing.

Personally, I kind of like going to Florida, but otherwise, I feel the same. I hope God lets me continue doing what he's called me to do. My name isn't Archippus, but I take the one verse addressed to him in the Bible, just like it was written to me.

Here's what it says. Tell Archippus, see to it that you complete the ministry you have received in the Lord. Yes, your role may change. Your assignments may evolve, and your situation may alter. You may have to make adjustments, but even so, one thing won't change. As long as God leaves you on this earth, he has ongoing work for you to do. There's no expiration date to the principles of this message. You never retire from the Christian life.

You never drop out of God's will. In his book, Finish, Give Yourselves the Gift of Done, John Acuff describes how hard this can be. He said, I've only completed 10% of the books I own. It took me three years to finish six days of P90X home exercise program.

He said, when I was 23, I made it to Bluebell from karate. I have 32 half-started moleskin notebooks in my office and 19 tubes of nearly finished chapstick in my bathroom. He adds that he's not the only one who doesn't stick with things. According to studies, 92% of New Year's resolutions fail. Every January, people start with hope and hype, believing that this will be the new year that will deliver a new you.

And while 100% start, only 8% finish. During the 2020 pandemic, I released a book called Shelter in God to encourage those struggling with the terrible crisis. One night as the book was ready to go to press, I awoke with thoughts of all the biblical characters who experienced sheltering-like experiences. The next day, I compiled my list to add to the epilogue at the end of the book. Then I read a study that said 63% of readers never finish the book they're reading.

I called my publisher at the last minute and I said, we need to change this. Let's don't make this the epilogue, let's make this the prologue. I don't want anyone to miss the biblical emphasis of this truth. Let's face it, you can have a great vision, you can pray godly prayers, you can choose the right goals, you can focus on the right things, so far so good. You can also pursue your dreams, make huge investments in God's word, his work and his wealth.

But if you don't finish what you start, it's like building a tower that never gets done. Dr. Robert Clinton teaches at the School of Intercultural Studies at Fuller Seminary. He spent a lot of time in his life researching the subject of leadership development. As part of his study, he identified a thousand men and women in the Bible who were considered leaders. National leaders, Jewish leaders, church leaders, patriarchs, priests, kings and like that. Many of these leaders were just mentioned in the text without any details. You may be as surprised as I was to learn there's only 49 prominent leaders in Scripture whose lives are surveyed as a whole.

In other words, we know how they started and we know how they ended. Of these 49 in the Bible, only 30% of them finished well. The other 70% fell short of God's plan for their lives, a fact that should jolt us. Some leaders such as Samson and Eli stumbled at midlife. Others like Noah, David, Jehoshaphat, Hezekiah stumbled near the end. But thank God for the 30% for people like Joshua, Daniel, Peter and Paul who walked with God all the way into their last years. They kept growing in the grace and knowledge of the Lord.

They flourished and stayed fresh and green and they bore fruit even into their old age. There are countless barriers, men and women, to finishing well. I've discovered that there are basically five major ones and I'm going to talk to you about them today because I want us to learn how to finish well. But rather than talk to them like barriers, I want to share them with you as challenges.

I want you to think about the rest of this message like we're in the locker room and we're getting a pep talk delivered to all of us before we head out of the tunnel for the second half of the game. So here are those five things. As you can well imagine because of where I am in my life, perhaps this chapter means more to me than all the rest. I've studied this diligently. I've spent probably more time thinking about this than all the rest of the chapters combined.

And here's what I've learned. Number one, to finish well, you have to stay focused till you're finished. One of the great finishers of the Bible was Solomon, King David's son. In fact, I discovered when I was researching this that the word finish is connected with Solomon a dozen times, especially with his building of the temple. So I went through with a yellow pad and I made a list of all the references associated with Solomon finishing assignment to build God's house. And I noticed something that escaped me in all the many times I've read the story.

It's interesting how just one little word can escape you and it can mean everything. Solomon was not only a finisher, he was a total, complete, absolute finisher. And I want you to notice this as I run through these scriptures together. Number one, 1 Kings 622, he finished all the temple. 638, the house was finished in all of its details according to all its plans. 751, so all the work that Solomon had done for the house of the Lord was finished. 2 Chronicles 5, 1, so all the work that Solomon had done for the house of the Lord was finished. 2 Chronicles 7, 11, Solomon successfully accomplished all that came into his heart to make in the house of the Lord. When it came to building God's temple in Jerusalem, Solomon finished it all. He left nothing undone and that's because I believe his father prayed him into this environment. Listen to David's prayer and his challenge to Solomon before David walked off the scene and Solomon took over. 1 Chronicles 28, 20, here's what he said, Be strong, Solomon, and of a good courage and do it and do not fear nor be dismayed for the Lord God, my God, he will be with you.

He will not leave you nor forsake you until you have finished all the work for the service of the house of the Lord. We have to finish it all. We don't get to stop part of the way. Most of the way doesn't work. Almost all the way isn't enough.

God wants us to finish it all. When I was in high school, my high school graduating class had 18 people. I was one of 18 graduates. When you're in a school that small, you have to be willing to do a lot of things. I played in the band, I played basketball, I ran track, I did a lot of things. Now remember when my track career started, the track coach came to me and he said, We need somebody to run the half mile in the race that we're going to do coming up and I'd like you to do it.

Well, that was not something I'd ever thought of doing, but why not? So I accepted it and I accepted the fact that for the rest of my time in high school and for a couple of years in college, I would run the 880, which is now the 800 meter race. I came up with a strategy and this is the way it worked. First, I would go out as fast as I could in the first lap and get a lead. Then at the beginning of the second lap, I would lengthen my stride and try to hold the lead and kind of just stride and not coast, but not go really fast. As I came around the last curve, I would try to find something deep inside of me and I would run with my whole heart as I focused on the finish line.

This was called my kick or running through the wall. Without that final kick, I didn't have a chance of winning and I still remember to this day the feel of my burning lungs and legs as I crossed the finish line. But that's what it takes.

That's what it takes in life. You have to stay focused and keep your eyes on the goal and run through the finish tape and then you can celebrate. The apostle Paul said it this way, he said, I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. So if we're going to be finishers, we have to focus till we're finished.

We got that? Focus till you're finished. Don't say, well, I'm almost there and then you walk away and you leave it not quite done. There's not anything more discouraging to you than to spend all of your time and all of your energy to get almost all the way and then walk away before you get done.

Here's the second thing about finishing life. Stay resilient about retirement. I don't think anything's more controversial in the lives of people like me than retirement. I hear it all the time.

Somebody always brings it up. And I want to tell you that the second key to finishing well is to approach the topic of retirement with resilience and with some sanctified resistance. My friend Harry Ballback is still active in his mid-90s.

I met him at Word of Life when I was a young pastor. For the last 20 or so years, people have been asking him if he was retired and he always says the same thing. Yes, I retire every night to go to bed so that I can get up the next morning and find out what God wants me to do. Harry said he wakes up every morning.

He sits on the edge of his bed and he says, God, here's another day. I'm glad I'm still here. You must have something for me to do. What I want to do is magnify your name.

I want to please you in all that I do. When psychologist Michael Longhurst left his high-level management position in the corporate world, he decided to take a major research project and follow it through on the subject of retirement. I read everything he wrote. I don't have time to share it all with you, but he interviewed over 200 retirees and he discovered that many of them were just totally unprepared for retirement, especially mentally and emotionally.

One man summed up the problem like this. He said, I feel so lonely and depressed. I miss my job, the office, my lunch buddies, my friends at work. I used to be very much busy at work and now suddenly there's nothing to do, no deadlines. This is what retirement is, boring and lonely? I wish I could be happy again like the good old days. I'm sure it's not as difficult for you to understand what I've just said as it was before COVID-19 because many of us have been kind of quietly semi-retired because we can't go to work. We can't have a schedule. Many of you have discovered that what you always said, oh, it would be so cool just to be able to sit around.

No, it's not cool. It's very difficult and people who try to do it without preparing themselves for it often find themselves in trouble. I remember reading about a wife who said to her retired husband, what are you going to do today? He said, nothing. She said, but you did that yesterday.

He said, I know, but I'm not finished yet. Someone said that a husband's retirement can become a wife's full-time job. Many people you see have followed the general expectation in America and the Western world that when we reach a certain age, we retire.

It's just what we do. Retirement has become the final rotation in the cycle of life. Just like we ask children, what do you want to be when you grow up? We ask adults, what do you plan to do when you retire? And seldom do we hear the value of retirement plans questioned and certainly not the value of retirement itself. But retirement, men and women, as we know it today, was virtually nonexistent throughout history. Retirement made little sense when the average life expectancy was only 30 or 40 years. It has its roots in the early 1900s when many large American industries, including railroads, banks, and companies, began offering pensions. In 1935, President Franklin Roosevelt introduced the Social Security Act. An employee's income was taxed throughout his or her working life and a retirement income beginning at age 65.

In America today, most workers expect to retire and the culture is geared to accommodate it. But what does the Bible say about this? Interestingly enough, the Bible has only one example of retirement.

I'll tell you where it is. It's in Numbers 8, verses 24 through 26. Here's what it says. This is what pertains to the Levites. From 25 years old and above, one may enter to perform service in the work of the tabernacle of meeting. And at the age of 50 years, they must cease performing this work and shall work no more. They may minister with their brethren in the tabernacle of meeting to attend the needs, but they themselves shall do no work. While the Levite tabernacle workers were instructed to retire at age 50, they weren't put out to pasture to spend the rest of their lives twiddling their thumbs and gazing at the sundial. No, they were charged to minister to the younger Levites who took over their jobs. They became mentors and advisors.

Today, we would probably call them consultants. So, no, I'm not saying you shouldn't take advantage of your Social Security income or pension benefits, but you might want to avoid the word retirement. You don't have to continue in your profession until you're in the 90s, but if you do leave your job, remember, retirement is simply God's way of freeing you up for further service. So stay focused till you're finished and stay resilient about retirement.

Here's the third thing I learned. Stay connected to your calling. Romans 11 29 says this, The gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.

That means you can't undo them. If God calls you, he's not going to uncall you. The gifts and calling of God are irrevocable.

Os Guinness had something to say about this. He said, I think it's important to realize that we can retire from our jobs, but we can never retire from our calling. Calling gives us our sense of task or responsibility, right up to the last day we spend on earth, when we go to meet the caller. I think that gives life incredible value, and therefore the prosperity of finishing well is that we continue to have a sense of responsibility and engagement that makes every day we live enormously important. So to finish well, consider maintaining a connection between what you did before you retired and what you do after you retire. Someone has said, Your career is what you're paid to do.

Your calling is what you're made to do. One of the most influential people in my life to illustrate this was Howard Hendricks. Howard Hendricks was one of my professors at Dallas Theological Seminary, and my wife Donna was his secretary while I was a student. Howard Hendricks was an incredible teacher and a master motivator, and when Bob Buford interviewed him for his book Finishing Well, Dr. Hendricks said, The average person dies between two and seven years after retirement, and it's simply because they lose their purpose in life. For most of them, their purpose was wrapped up in their work, and once they're no longer working, they feel they have no meaning in their lives.

They retire from something rather than to something. Hendricks went on to apply this principle to himself. He said, I've done a lot of things in my life, but only one thing gives me ultimate satisfaction, and that's teaching. If I stop teaching, I lose the reason for which I was put on this planet, and this is what I was born to do. So if the seminary decides it's time for me to move on, I'll just go teach in another venue. I will spend the rest of my life teaching. I have a good friend who loves to preach, but he hates administration. When I heard that he'd resigned from his church, I called to ask him about it, and he took my call, but instead of saying hello, he just said, Free at last, free at last.

Thank God almighty, I'm free at last. He meant that he was free now to do what he really loved, to preach without all the distractions that he had in his church ministry with administration and people problems. No, you may not have a career that's transferable into your post-retirement life, but if you're a follower of Christ, you have a calling. You have a gift God has given you, an ability for service, so just keep using it for the Lord.

Use it in a different context, in a different environment, but don't stop doing what God has called you to do. When Jesus had finished his work on earth and was about to be crucified, resurrected, and returned to heaven, he prayed this prayer about his life, John 17 four. He said, God, I have glorified you on the earth.

I have finished the work which you have given me to do. Read that verse carefully. Jesus didn't finish all the work there was to do. He finished the work that he was given to do, and that should be our prayer. Lord, help me to finish the work you have given me to do.

If you do that, you're going to live a full and exciting life. Amen. Isn't it interesting that sometimes we add stress to our life because we're doing things that nobody expects us to do, least of all God.

We get off on a side road, and we burn up our energy and we lose our focus on the thing God has called us to do. My father gave me a verse when I was ordained. It was Acts 13 36. David served his generation by the will of God.

The one whose name my parents chose for me, David, he's in the Bible, and that's what it says about him. He served his generation by the will of God. That was his purpose, and that's been my purpose as well.

Well, have a great weekend, friends. I'm so excited that we still have some more of this to talk about, and we'll be back on Monday with the next edition of Turning Point. I'm David Jeremiah. Our message today came to you from Shadow Mountain Community Church, where Dr. David Jeremiah serves as Senior Pastor.

How is Turning Point enriching your faith? Please write and tell us at Turning Point Post Office Box 3838, San Diego, California, 92163. Or visit our website at forward slash radio. Ask for your copy of David's powerful new book, Forward, Discovering God's Presence and Purpose in Your Tomorrow. It's yours for a gift of any amount.

You can also purchase the Jeremiah Study Bible in the English Standard Version, the new International Version, and the new King James Version, all available in a variety of handsome cover options. Visit forward slash radio for details. I'm Gary Hooke Fleet. Join us Monday as we continue the series, Forward. Let's hear on Turning Point with Dr. David Jeremiah. Thanks for taking time to listen to this audio on demand from Vision Christian Media. To find out more about us, go to
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-02-02 12:22:42 / 2024-02-02 12:32:12 / 10

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