Summary: Sermon from Russ Blowers on Finishing Well
Evening Service for 10/10/2004
Tell the story of Russ Blowers. Retired in 1995 to tend to his wife.
Jesus said, “It is finished.” 33 years old, he never allowed anything to hinder his doing of the will of the Father. “For this purpose I came into the world.”
John 17- I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do.
Jesus finished well.
The story of Caleb.
The story of Paul and now he is at the end: I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have kept the faith.
These people finished well.
We want to finish well.
Life is like a marathon, not a short sprint. If we have 5 runners at the end and they are neck and neck, it matters who finishes well.
The Chicago Cubs and how they did not finish well.
Life is not a competition, but to not finish well is disappointing. Started well but did not finish well. In school if we come in and do poorly at the beginning but keep improving and at the end we do well, this is admired by teachers. However, if we come in and do great at the beginning but finish poorly, this is a disappointment to the teachers. Why? Because of the potential.
How do we finish well? Look back and know that we are finishing well. The challenge of a lifetime is to finish well. The Puritans view.
Ephesians 2:10- We are to have a life purpose and work on that to our last breath.
We have been given a calling. Philippians 1:6
Dr. Robert Clinton leading authority on finishing well. Excellent Biblical scholar and teacher. Studied the lives of 1,000 Bible characters. What happens to men who are leaders in the Church, among the people of faith? He discovered that most did not finish well. 1,000 leaders in the Bible less than 30% finished well.
Solomon started out well but finished poorly. Not talking about salvation but living out the purpose of life.
Gideon started out so well. At the end of his life he had many wives and he worshipped a golden ephod he had set up from the plunder.
King Saul started out so well. Died as an enemy of the Lord.
King Asa of Judah started out well. He beat the Ethiopians and had reforms. He ended with a disease in his feet and he did not seek the Lord but only the physicians.
King Joash restored worship in the temple. He served the Lord during the priest Jehoiada’s life. After Jehoiada died, he forsook the Lord. Started out well.
King Uzziah did a lot of good. He grew proud and forsook the Lord and entered the temple to offer a sacrifice, something only a priest could do. The Lord gave him leprosy and he died.
Dr. Clinton made a study of ministers in America and fewer than 30% of ministers in America do not finish well.
Biographies of famous people. While these men became great, they blew it somehow in the end. Reasons varied: sex, greed, marital problems, family difficulties, emotional burnout, addictive behaviors, and poor interpersonal relationships. Many do not manage a good solid finish.
Dr. Clinton says that it is the same in every generation. Those people who are ordained, set apart to be Christian leaders do not finish well. Not just talking about big names or but run of the mill people. Across the board.
6 barriers to finishing well (Dr. Clinton):
1. The abuse and misuse of finances. Messed up with money. Entering into shady deals. I have known a person in the 80’s who were still trying to make it rich. Why? At that age, we are going to leave this place soon and we can’t take it with us.
2. Abuse of power. God has not called us into power over people. God has called us into service. We do not earn it to lord it over others. King Uzziah, priest even followed him in and he didn’t listen. I am the king. Whoever wants to be great, must be a servant.
3. Pride. Believe their own PR reports. I love getting good feedback. However, I know that I am not a wonderful person. I am above this or that. Watch out!
4. Sexual misadventures. Persist in deliberate sexual sin. One of my relatives got Playboy. He was in his 70’s. Most of the times in a foolish lapse
5. Critical family issues. Children have destroyed reputation. Wife has destroyed the ministry. Not always this person’s fault, but we must identify traits that have complicated the problems.
6. Plateuing. Just interested in maintaining. Not interested in growing or going the extra mile anymore. As we get older, we lose energy. However, the time we say I am not interested in growing or doing or learning, we die. Probably not physically but in other ways. Not interested in going the extra mile. William Wallace- Every man dies, but not every man lives. I love my grandmother Hose. She is a fireball. Work anyone under the table. She will try anything. Roller coasters.