Finish the race

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

What do those words mean to you? I learned this morning that those were fighting words – they called out a foolish ruler named Nero. Nero wanted to be an Olympic champion but was plump in the middle and had never worked out in a day of his life. He liked the IDEA of being a champion but never put in the necessary effort. However, being the ruler, and a vicious one at that, after crashing his chariot, he was put back upright and declared the winner. Not only did the people pretend he was the victor – he, in his mind, WAS the victor. Afterwards, Paul, from his cell, wrote these words shortly before his execution – the words were probably the last straw for Nero.

Isn’t that the craziest story? Who would do that?

Unfortunately, we all do. Probably not to Nero’s extent but we all have good intentions, and there’s this saying:

We judge ourselves by our intentions and others by their actions.

If we aren’t careful, we’ll craft a story about ourselves that may not match reality.

One of my favorite exercises from Stephen Covey is to begin with the end in mind – kinda grim but imagine your funeral. What do you want people to say about you…then work backward.

Me? I want people to say I was ALL IN – that I lived out loud, that I loved God in both words and deeds, and that I finished the race. That I wasn’t a fraud …all talk and no walk.

And with that said – I’m out y’all – leaving Houston at 3p and headed over to the other side of the world. Why? The simple answer is to distribute mosquito nets, facilitate a medical clinic, and to share the gospel in far away places.

The more complicated answer lies in obedience and service. This is my race – to serve, love, and be the hands and feet of God right here on earth. It’s about pouring my life out for others. It’s about love.

What about you? What’ll be said at your funeral? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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Donna Matthews is a blog writer at the DJRanch where she strives to remain authentic while not taking herself too seriously. She is also the creator of Slay The Chaos (, where she writes about productivity and organization. She is a member of The Writers Guild and Write Space in Houston and is currently writing her first book.