Done or Undone?
How many of your hopes and dreams will remain unfulfilled at the time of your death? Composer Franz Schubert departed this world leaving behind his “Unfinished Symphony.” Others have left this life having never completed a book they were writing or trip they had just begun. Some will die having never watched their children grow up or see their firstborn child enter the world. If death has its way, it will cause many to say, “I’m not done yet.”
Consider two statements of scripture which extol the opposite. Jesus’ last words on the cross were, “It is finished” (John 19:30). Our Lord’s work was not unfulfilled or incomplete. He did not fall short of His purpose. He did all His Father had asked of Him to do. His work of redemption was totally and perfectly accomplished in His death upon the cross.
The last words of Jesus are actually a single word in the original language. What Jesus gasped was “Completed!” or “Ended!” That cry from the cross may have been a disappointment to the apostles. They would rather have Him alive. Some of His disciples believed He would be the next ruler of their land. Yet, His death by “undone” people brought salvation to untold thousands of people. Jesus’ cry at the cross announced not only the end of His suffering, but HIs redemptive work was externally accomplished. All He had come to achieve in His human life was finished. Done! HIs next step was to be in the glorious presence of God, seated at His right hand (Acts 2:30-33).
How do we respond to what is done and completed by Jesus? We can do nothing to add to His sacrifice. Christ’s self-giving death was all-sufficient. We can only stretch out our hand of faith and accept His completed mission in obedience. It was what God desired and our sin required.
We might more easily accept what Jesus did, and say it was complete. However, there is a life of another person who said his life was done and complete, although his mission was not to die for the sins of the world. Paul said in 2 Timothy 4:7,8, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness...”
How can a person say his life is done, complete, finished, when he is not dying for anything significant like the sins of the world? Should we able to say, “I am done,” “Life is finished,” “I have done all I can?” By faith, we can. For those whose lives may be cut short or extended beyond what might be expected, there is reason to say, “I am done.”
From the time it begins, the life of a Christian is a growing process. We never reach perfection, but what should we do along the way? We should be fulfilling all the stages of growth like patience, teaching, courage, self-control, and love. We have a marriage, family, work, and community responsibilities to uphold and fulfill as long as we have them. When we are done with each of those, we should be able to say, “I have finished.” With faith in God, we can do all God gives us power to do and do it with our might (Ecclesiastes 9:10). Although we and others might wish we had a few more years, we should live in a way that our last words would be, “I have finished the course.”
Every runner will one day finish his or her last race. They will never run again. The memories remain. The training is over. What is there to show for it? Diligence. Patience. Self-control. Courage. Work. Love. The list could go on of the character developed from running. It was not in vain. Running was not just an activity. It was a life.
Your life is not just an activity. It is living. That life will finish someday whether you want it to or not. Now is the time to understand your work, do the work, and do the work correctly. Then at the end, you can say, “I am done. I have done what is my duty to do.” What a blessing and legacy you will have left for those who survive.