Will You Finish First or Finish Well?

Runner Through Finish Line

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 2 Tim. 4:7

Some years ago, I ran across an article on persistence that I had tucked away in my files. I have no idea who the author might be, but I thought I would share a few excerpts from the article for you to ponder. I am sorry I am not able to give proper credit to the writer, but I suspect he or she won’t mind. I have made a few of my own comments which I have italicized and placed in brackets so you know they were not in the original article.


“Persistent action follows commitment—that is, you first must be committed to something before you’ll persist to achieve it...” –Jeff Keller

I recently purchased a copy of William J. Bennett’s book, The Children’s Book of Virtues. I love to read one of its stories to my grandchildren—the fable of the tortoise and hare. You will remember that the persistent effort of the tortoise paid off in attaining the finish line while the much fleeter hare slept along the trail.


The virtue of persistence also applies to the efforts of parents and grandparents to build meaningful connections with our progeny. The father [or grandfather] who takes one afternoon off to attend a school extracurricular activity has made a great deposit in the ‘relationship account’. [Imagine the impact when you persistently attend as many events as you can.]

If you have not been as persistent in building [and maintaining] connections with your grandchildren as you wish you had [guilty here], don’t punish yourself. Take comfort in this piece of wisdom: “Our greatest glory lies not in never failing, but in rising every time we fall” (unknown). [I would argue it mainly lies in making God look great and glorious in their eyes.]

Charles Kettering, one of the great inventors of the twentieth century said, “Every time you tear a leaf off a calendar, you present a new place for new ideas and progress.” There is a wonderful opportunity lying ahead of us—the opportunity to strengthen our relational connection. Your children and grandchildren won’t care if you finish first, only that you put them first.

[My Final Comment] This author’s last statement, while expressed with good intentions, can have some disastrous consequences if we are not careful. I would argue it’s not a question of putting them ‘first’, which can lead to an attitude of entitlement, but making sure they know they are loved and dearly treasured for who they are, not how they perform.

I would suggest a different concluding statement: Your children and grandchildren won’t care if you finish first, but that you have finished well. They will know that you have finished well when you have left them the greatest inheritance of all—that they too know, love and serve Christ as Lord and Savior with all their hearts!

GRANDPAUSE: When I have learned to love God better than my earthly dearest, I shall love my earthly dearest better than I do now. – C.S. Lewis

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