By NFL veteran tight end Benjamin Watson, posted September 20, 2015 on his excellent website blog at: http://www.thebenjaminwatson.com
In 2001, The University of Georgia introduced Mark Richt as its new head football coach. One of the first things he did as coach was implement a new motto for our football program. The words “Finish the Drill” became the heartbeat of Georgia Football. They were on t-shirts and posters; they even put them on the locker room walls. To become a great team, Coach Richt knew that we needed to finish everything we did. Finishing is what separates good from great. Anyone can do just what is required of them, but the best finish everything they do with effort and excellence. In the classroom, in the weight room, and on the field, everything we did was predicated on Finishing the Drill. From 5:45 a.m. winter workouts, to stifling two a days, to the fourth quarters in the regular season, the words “Finish the Drill” (or FTD for short) reminded us to always strive for the perfection that would one day lead to a championship.
Finishing the Drill is not a new concept, though. It’s a theme throughout Scripture. At the end of his life, alone and in a Roman prison, the apostle Paul inked these words to his young disciple in the faith, Timothy: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” Paul would leave this world confident that he would receive the crown of righteousness the Lord has promised those who are faithful to Him. He wasn’t perfect or sinless, but he ran the course God had laid before him with excellence. Thus, he felt victorious when facing death. Because of his faithfulness to Christ, Paul eagerly awaited being in the presence of his Savior and Lord.
Jesus is our ultimate example of what it means to finish. Before he gave up His spirit on the cross, He uttered, “It is finished.” Jesus came to finish God’s awesome plan of salvation. He came to pay the penalty for our sins. He glorified the Father by completing the work He was given. Because He finished, we can become new creations and live in freedom from the bondage that sin has on our lives. We can live life abundantly with no condemnation and spend eternity with Him because He finished!
My hope is that at the end of my life I too can say that I finished the drill, that I fought the good fight, that I kept the faith, that I finished as a husband, a father, a teammate, and a friend. We have to take an honest assessment of our lives. At this moment can we say that we have wholeheartedly run the race God has laid before us; that we have been obedient to His call on our lives? Our time on this earth is a blessing from God, and He expects us to be good stewards of the time we have. There is no greater purpose in life than to know God and to make Him known. There is no better way to do this then to finish the work He has given us to do.
II Timothy 4:7-8 — I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.
John 19:28-30 — Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
I Corinthians 9:24-27 — Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.
Acts 20:22-24 — “Now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.
support us all the day long of this troublous life,
until the shadows lengthen, and the evening comes,
and the busy world is hushed,
and the fever of life is over, and our work is done.
Then, Lord, in thy mercy,
grant us a safe lodging, a holy rest,
and peace at the last. Amen.
–John Henry Newman (1801-1890)