Summary: Finishing strong is what counts most. It is good to start strong but unless you finish strong it is of no value.
Finishing Strong ”A good start isn’t enough”
A.With the New Year approaching, people often make some resolutions that they want to accomplish for the next year. Usually before the month is over they have already given up on them.
B.Here are the year’s top ten New Year’s resolutions.
C.Making a decision to change or to do something is nice but that is usually not enough. You need to have the ability to see it through to the end and not quit. Have you ever noticed in life that a good start isn’t always enough? Getting a good start is important. If you don’t get a good start your chances of finishing strong are not that good, but of the two, finishing strong is most the important. You can always overcome a bad start, but you can’t overcome a bad finish. If you finish bad, you lose! A good start alone is not enough to get us to the finish line, or to the winners’ circle.
D.If you don’t believe me, ask the 1969 Baltimore Orioles, who dominated major league baseball that year. Won 109 games -- more than any other team. And their opponents in the World Series were the New York Mets. Everyone expected the Orioles to win easily, and when they won the first game it seemed as though they had it in the bag. In just four more games it was over, but the New York Mets were the ones wearing that World Series ring. In 1969 the Orioles and all of Baltimore were convinced of the truth that a good start isn’t enough.
E.What about the 2005 football season for the Indianaplis Colts. The start of the 2005 season for the Colts was incredible. They started the season with a 13-game winning streak, and entering the playoffs, were heavily favored to go to the Super Bowl. Considering that the team that they played next was the Pittsburg Steelers a team that they blew out the past 2 years in the playoffs. However, the Colts were upset by the #6-seeded Steelers, and their season ended. The week following the game the city of Indianapolis did not throw a parade to celebrate the Colts 13 game winning streak at the beginning of the season. Good starts are not enough.
F.We all have experienced the reality of this truth in our own everyday lives. Perhaps, we start out real good on a new diet or exercise program as part of our new year resolutions. Or on a project around the house, a class in school, a job in church or in paying off some bills. I mean we are out of that starting gate like hungry grey hounds chasing a rabbit. But time passes and the diet ends, the exercise stops, we fail the class, the job doesn’t get done and the bills are still where we left them. You see, though there is nothing wrong with a good start, it just isn’t enough.
G.Today, I want to take a look at a man who had an awesome start but had a lousy finish, King Solomon.
Solomon had a good start I Kings 3:10-13
A.He was humble and dependent on God.
1.At the very beginning of his reign as king he went to Gibeon to offer sacrifices to God. The text says that he offered a thousand burnt offerings on the altar. And that night the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream and said, “What do you want? Ask and I will give it to you.” If you were Solomon what would you have asked for? Now, Solomon being a new king, was feeling overwhelmed by the task and the amount of people who would be looking to him for all things. So Solomon made this request of God, “O Lord my God, now you have made king instead of my father David, but I am like a child who doesn’t know his way around. And here I am among your own chosen people, a nation so great they are too numerous to count! Give me an understanding mind so that I can govern your people well and know the difference between right and wrong. For who by himself is able to govern this nation of yours.” I Kings 3:10-13. And the Bible says, “Since you asked for this and not for long life or wealth for yourself, nor have you asked for the death of your enemies, but for discernment in administering justice, I will do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never be anyone like you, nor will there ever be. Moreover, I will give you what you have not asked for both riches and honor so that in your lifetime you will have no equal among kings.”