Finishing Well

While competing in the Olympic marathon in Mexico City in 1968, Tanzanian runner John Stephen Akhwari suffered an injury and finished last. By the time he finally crossed the finish line, the sun had set and many of the spectators had already left the stadium. When asked why he had continued, Akhwari replied, “My country did not send me 5,000 miles to start the race; they sent me 5,000 miles to finish the race.”

The closing chapter of 1 Chronicles includes David’s challenge to God’s people to support Solomon in the completion of the temple: “The task is great, because this palatial structure is not for man but for the Lord God” (v. 1). The response of the assembled leaders is reminiscent of the reaction of God’s people to Moses’ call to contribute for the construction of the tabernacle: “Everyone who was willing and whose heart moved them came and brought an offering to the Lord for the work on the tent of meeting, for all its service, and for the sacred garments” (Ex. 35:21). As the people consecrated themselves to God for the work, David dedicated the project and consecrated his son Solomon in prayer. David’s prayer is marked by humility and the recognition that success comes from the Lord (v. 12).

David correctly recognizes that success is a result of the grace of God. This project had begun with careful preparation and an impressive willingness to see it through, yet David also asked God to “keep these desires and thoughts in the hearts of your people forever, and keep their hearts loyal to you” (v. 18).

This is a fitting conclusion to our study of 1 Chronicles. We have seen that this book is more than a list of names. It is a record of God’s continuing faithfulness to His people.

Apply the Word

We make plans and expend effort but it is really God who accomplishes the work. How can you be sure that you will follow through in your commitment to Jesus Christ? The answer: You need to depend on God’s Spirit. The one who called you will also keep you. God will enable you to finish well.

BY John Koessler, Chair and Professor of Pastoral Studies

John Koessler serves as chair and professor in the division of applied theology and church ministry at the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, Illinois. He is married to Jane and has two sons, Drew and Jarred. John is the author of The Radical Pursuit of Rest (InterVarsity), The Surprising Grace of Disappointment (Moody) and True Discipleship (Moody). John has written several other books and articles and serves as a contributing editor for Today in the Word.

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