I enjoyed watching the National Football League playoffs over the weekend. While I didn’t get to see any game in its entirety, I was able to watch parts of several games and to keep up with the outcomes of each one. Several had very exciting endings.
None of the games was more interesting– – or sad – – than the ending of the Cincinnati Bengals and Pittsburgh Steelers.
Cincinnati came from a large deficit to take the lead with a little more than a minute to play. It seemed they had pulled off the improbable and won the victory – – the first time they had won a playoff game in many seasons.
But it didn’t happen that way. Pittsburgh moved down the field and won the game with a field goal in the last seconds.
That would’ve been an exciting game, but this wasn’t an exciting game. It was a sad game. Pittsburgh was able to move from trying to kick an improbable 50 yard field goal in bad weather to an almost automatic field goal from close range because of two 15 yard personal foul penalties by the Bengals defense.
Both fouls were completely uncalled for and resulted in the Bengals losing the game.
The Bengals suffered from not “finishing well.”
Each of us should be concerned about finishing well. How we finish is how we will be remembered. How we finish will determine to a large extent the contribution we leave in life.
After the game, I felt incredibly sorry for the Cincinnati fans and especially for those players who have worked so hard all their lives to get to this point. The actions of two players ruined the hard work of the other 43.
What can we do to finish well?
First, we can stay fresh in our experience with God. No matter where you are in life, it’s not time to rest on past spiritual experiences. We need time with God. God does not have to have us, but we must have Him. A daily time of prayer and Scripture will equip us for the emotions and temptations that await us.
Second, we must always be vigilant in understanding the struggles we face. Satan – – and our own sinful nature – – wants us to cut corners and not take a long look at every decision. The Scripture helps us focus on God and His ways rather than us and our ways.
Third, we need a community to help and encourage us to endure to the end and to be faithful in all our days. The church is an imperative for finishing well. Remember, like the Cincinnati Bengals, many, many people are depending on you. Do your best by giving your all to God.
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