Where's Your Finish Line?

Pastor James
September 22, 2022

Here you are, starting a new school year. For some of you, this is your very first year at UCSD! Congratulations on being accepted to this wonderful school! We at New Life Student Ministries wish you a memorable, productive, successful year and college life! 

But how? Maybe your plan is to simply live your life to the fullest—“Seize the day!” This is an inspiring message. How sad it is to live our lives, doing things only half-heartedly, wishing we were somewhere else doing anything but what we are doing now! 

But can we seize the moment and still waste our lives? Can we live each moment to the fullest and still be left empty in the end? I’m afraid so. What’s the point of running fast and furious if we are running away from the finish line? Without a sense of purpose and goal, seizing the moment will be a glorious waste of time! 

Do you have a clear vision of the finish line in mind—for your college, for your career, for your life? What constitutes a successful life for you, a life well-lived? We don’t want to be like a flock of sheep, all moving along the set path—from high school to college to job to marriage to family to retirement and to who knows what after that (!)—hoping that those before us knew where they were going. 

“‘I have been everything,' moaned the Roman emperor Septimus, ‘and it is worth nothing.’ At the height of his success, Napoleon wrote to his brother Joseph, ‘I am tired of glory at twenty-nine; it has lost its charm; and there is nothing left for me but complete egotism’” (Robert Lewis, Raising a Modern-Day Knight). King Solomon, too, said, after enjoying a lifetime of luxury and pleasure, “Vanity of vanities. All is vanity” (Ecclesiastes 1:2)! Many achieve the American Dream and wonder, “Now what?” as they go through a midlife crisis. 

So, where is your finish line? Have you taken into consideration the end? However our lives turn out, we will all die someday. If you had only six months to live, would you live your life differently than now? How? And more importantly, why? If our life is but a cosmic accident, just a blip in the eternal continuum of time, does it matter how we live? Why should we care about good and evil, right and wrong? Are such questions relevant in this amoral universe, made up most of lifeless atoms and molecules? Do human virtues—such as honor, integrity, love, self-sacrifice, etc.—have any intrinsic value? 

Jesus poses an all-important question to us all: “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his life” (Mark 8:36)? These words imply the supreme value of our life. We matter because we are made in the image of God, endowed with a singular significance above all other creatures as spirit-body beings. 

This comes with many privileges and responsibilities. We have the privilege of being able to know and commune with the Creator, to enjoy the riches of His goodness and love. It comes also with accountability. “It is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). That is the ultimate finish line for all of us. 

Can you withstand the scrutiny of the One who sees even the darkest secrets of your heart? You may see yourself as a relatively “good” person. But according to what standard? Only the standard of God is what matters in the end. And the Bible says, “All have sinned and fall short of God's glory.” The only hope we have is Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, who came and took our place before the judgment seat of God. If we acknowledge our need for a Redeemer and place our faith in Jesus Christ, God promises to forgive us and accept us. Place your trust in Jesus Christ and race toward eternal life and joy!