We’re in the heart of Basketball mania better known as March Madness. We are observing that games are won not by how a team starts out but how well they finish. Sports in many ways, offers great lessons for life. We do well to pay attention.
In life, many people start well, with good intentions, enthusiasm and energy. But somewhere along the way, they lose heart, run out of steam, energy or drive and fail to finish the race. Some of the most promising individuals I knew in High School and even some voted “the most likely to succeed” have long since dropped out of sight. They did not live up to their potential for one reason or another.
A few things in life are like a sprint, but most things are more like a marathon. A Theatrical Producer by the name of Arthur Hopkins was known to ask aspiring playwrights, “How is your second act?” He realized that many playwrights had a wonderful first act but allowed the drama to fade and the plot to drift in the later parts of the play. In Theater, there is always a second act just as in basketball there is a second half.
John Mark, the young, enthusiastic companion of The Apostle Paul and Barnabas gave up the mission right after they got started. It’s fair to say that he really didn’t get off to a good start. As a “drop out” he greatly disappointed the Apostle Paul and in reality created a rift between Paul and Barnabas who just happened to be John Mark’s cousin. When John Mark wanted to accompany Paul on his second missionary journey Paul refused to take him and got into such an argument with Barnabas that the two broke off their partnership as missionaries. Paul chose Silas as his new partner and Barnabas took John Mark with him on another mission. With the help of Barnabas, the encourager, John Mark grew up, matured and became a fruitful missionary. In his latter days, Paul realized that a dramatic change had taken place in John Mark’s life. Writing to Timothy, his son in the Ministry, he said, “Get Mark and bring him with you, because he is helpful to me in the ministry.” (2 Timothy 4:11) John Mark was finishing well.
Someone has said, “In life, it’s not whether you win or lose, but how you play the game. We know that in sports, only one team wins the championship but even the losing team can finish well. So it is in Faith. Finishing well is what faith is all about. Revelation 2:10 says it all, “Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life.” It’s worth everything to finish well.
In His Love, Charles