Psalm 119:33 – “Teach me, O LORD, to follow your decrees; then I will keep them to the end.”
One of my favorite lessons to teach is one that I call The Nine Values of World Changers. It’s a lesson that deals with the biblical characteristics that are seen in the lives of most people who have a huge impact on the world. One of those character qualties is endurance. Towards the end of his life, the Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy, his young apprentice and said, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” (2 Timothy 4:7-8) This was written in the last chaper of the last recorded letter that we have of Paul’s. He was proud of the way that he finished his life.
My Grandpa was a pastor for many years. Several years before he died my Grandpa called me into a room in my parent’s home and asked to have a private conversation with me. He asked if I would be willing to preach the sermon at his funeral (He would later change his mind). He asked if I would speak from 2 Timothy 4:7-8. Grandpa wanted people to know that his life’s ambition was to follow Christ and honor Him until the very end. Several years passed between Grandpa’s request and his death. The last time I visited my Grandpa he was struggling with dimentia. My parents told me that he probably wouldn’t recognize me, my wife or our children. We went to Grandpa’s retirement home expecting the worst. What we found was an old pastor, sitting in a church service with a retirement home chaplain. When he saw us come in, he smiled, instantly recognizing our family. He spent the next hour or so with us talking about ministry. He talked about his life. He introduced us to his friends. He told me that he prayed for our family every day. He told me that he was proud of me. And, he pointed out a friend at the center who didn’t yet know Christ. Grandpa asked me to pray that the man would come to know Christ before he died. Grandpa died two months later. And, he finished life well.
In this verse, David tells God that he wants to learn how to follow God’s decrees so that he can follow them until the end. May we all end well. And, may our decision be to follow Jesus.
I have decided to follow you, and I need you to help me walk the path of truth. May I finish my life strong. May you be glorified in me. May many come to know you because of seeing you reflected in me.
In Jesus’ name,