In NASCAR, there are a lot of things you don’t want to happen to you, but at the top of the list is being tagged with the dreaded label “DNF.” DNF stands for “Did Not Finish”—and a handful of DNFs can wreck (both literally and figuratively) your entire season. Whether because of a blown engine or being sent into the wall by a competitor, DNFs can be catastrophic. And the need to finish well is not unique to NASCAR. Finishing is something that is key in all sports. In football, you play until the whistle blows. In track, you run all the way through the tape. In NASCAR, you go all the way to the checkered flag.
Finishing, and finishing well, is a huge part of success in sports, and in life as well. In Paul’s final letter, written to a young pastor and protégé named Timothy, he described his journey with a series of simple yet profound phrases. We read in 2 Timothy 4:7, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith.” He gave it his all and stayed true to his convictions about God, but he also ran all the way to the finish line. Along the way, Paul experienced extreme hardship and great suffering, but he persevered. He had relationships that were stressed and stretched. He fought the misconceptions of some and the expectations of others. The pressures and disappointments of life could easily have caused him to give up and bail out. But he didn’t. Paul stayed in the race and finished well.
One of the things in life of which I am certain is this: I don’t want to be a DNF in life. I want to run all the way to the finish line giving God my best every step of the way. With God’s help, I want to finish well. By His grace, I want to please Him. I hope you do too.
Bill Crowder, Sports Spectrum Chaplain