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God can help you finish strong
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Larry is retiring this year. He has plans to hunt, fish and spend more time with his sons. He has been a very productive worker. Some say he is one of the best ever at his job. To be honest, he has continued to be quite productive in this, his last year. Some have asked him if he really wants to retire. He has been adamant that the time has come.

Did I mention that Larry is 40 years old? He’s been at his job, at the highest level, for 17 years. He actually started doing what he is doing now when he was 5.

By now, my readers who are baseball fans know that Larry goes by a different name. We know him as Chipper.

Chipper Jones has played for the Atlanta Braves since 1995. He was their first-round draft pick five years before that. He has had what most people believe is a hall-of-fame career as one of the best third basemen and switch-hitters of all time.

Chipper has had a very good season this year. My family was at his final home game last Sunday afternoon. In that game, he got a hit and made three outstanding defensive plays, including one that saved a run in the first inning. He has played better than most players have in their 20s and early 30s. Again, many have asked him if he might reconsider his retirement given how well he is playing. His response to one reporter was simple: “You don’t know how hard it was for me just to walk in here. My knees hurt. My back hurts. I hurt all over. It’s time.”

It has been good to see this great player play well during his final season. I have seen too many players embarrass themselves by hanging on too long. It’s best to finish well.

And that is the idea I want to leave with you today. If statistics are true, the majority of newspaper readers, and thus those reading these words, is middle aged or older. So my advice fits. I want to finish well. And I want you to do the same.

Near the end of his life, Paul wrote, “I have fought the good fight, I have kept the faith, I have finished the race.” Paul finished well. He accomplished what he knew God wanted him to accomplish. I want to do that, too.

But how can that be done? The preacher in Ecclesiastes said it this way. “The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.” To fear God means to worship, respect and revere him. It means to listen to his voice and obey what he says.

Will you choose to finish well? It really is a choice that you make. God will help you at every step. I challenge you to make the commitment to finish well.

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