Everything here has a conclusion. There is an end of the day, end to the year, end to the mortal life. Eventually everything ends. Everything but God and the heavenly realm He fills.
The year is ending, finally. But the troubles may not yet be ending. For some they might only be beginning as the calendar turns. Honestly, until our life on this earth is concluded, how can we think the end of troubles has come?
Earthly Life is that glorious cocktail of pains and losses intermingled with beauty and joy. There is no other way in this fallen, beautiful and broken world.
So how do we conclude well? How do we close out the year with a beautiful conclusion that will bring honor to God and build up those around us? Well, as anything that goes well in our lives, He does it through us.
Paul concluded well. I can take a lesson from him as I seek to conclude this day, this week, this year and who knows when, but also this life well.
In his final known letter to his dear Timothy, as his pen ran dry and is life was near the end, he wrote down for our benefit by the inspiration of God, how to conclude well.
- Charge to the character of God. He charged Timothy in the presence of God with the truth of who he knew God to be. The word charged here is a word that also means testify of or to bear witness to. Paul opens his ending statements with the testimony of remembering God’s character. He is to judge the living and the dead and by His appearing and His kingdom. Am I concluding by knowing God’s character through His word and testifying to it with my words, my actions and my life?
- Commission others. He commissioned Timothy to do what God had called him to do. Be ready in season, be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work and fulfill your ministry. Life is lonely if we remain self-focused. But when we begin to call out the giftedness in others and cheer them on towards Christ, we find joy and fulfillment we couldn’t have found elsewhere. Who can I commission, encourage and cheerlead into the work God has called them to do?
- Conclude with grace. The letter ends with The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you. Paul knew he was headed Home so he could end with grace, even though the end for him was an ugly and brutal death. He knew Who waited on the other side and that was his focus. When we have peace with God through Jesus, we can end wearisome days, hard years and even our own lives with grace. Do you have the peace with God through Jesus that comes only through the salvation He died to give you, when you repent and turn to Him as Savior?
There is no guarantee that 2021 will be different that 2020. But by the authority of Scripture, God’s Word promises that we can conclude well as we charge to His character, commission those around us and conclude with grace by grace. May our conclusions honor Him.