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... 2 Timothy 4:7-8
Peter Sedore got a hole-in-one at the Panorama Village Golf Course where he often played. It wasn’t his first, either. Actually, it was his eighteenth career hole-in-one, something which golfers recognize isn’t an everyday occurrence by a long shot. Neither did Peter, age 83, realize it would be his last hole-in-one, either. One hole later, he collapsed from an aneurysm in his brain, and was pronounced dead upon arrival at a local hospital. “There was no other way he would have wanted it,” said Sedore’s son, Dennis, adding, “Maybe God wanted him to do it one more time before taking him.”
Without being presumptuous, I’m still waiting for God to want me to get my first hole-in-one, but then it’s pretty possible that Peter played a lot more golf than I do. “Hooray, No. 18!” Peter said as he lifted his ball from the hole. What a way to go--bagging that coveted hole in one. I do know one thing for sure, whether or not you ever get your first or 18th hole-in-one, there comes a time when you’ve played your last round--something that most of us never like to think about.
I’ve thought a lot about the way people respond to both death and dying. A lot of folks live in complete denial. They never mention death, even when it comes to making provision for the family left behind, passing on their possessions to the family. They assume that to talk about it might make it happen, so they avoid the subject with a vengeance.
If we believe that matters of life and death are of importance to our Heavenly Father and are all part of the cycle of life, there’s no reason not to talk about them. Long ago the psalmist wrote, “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints” (Psalm 116:15). If I were going to Buckingham Palace and were to have an audience with the Queen, I’d talk about it--you can be sure of that. I’d want to know what to wear, what to say, and how to conduct myself. Should we be less concerned about our entrance into the presence of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords?
Writing to the Philippians, Paul made a powerful statement which is something like a life purpose. He said he pressed on “to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me” (Philippians 3:12). Question: Did Paul have a kind of special thing going between him and God? Or does God lay hold of every life because he wants certain things accomplished in the span of our walk here on earth? If you believe the Bible, you have to acknowledge that God has a purpose and will for every person, and that means He does want you to accomplish certain things between now and when you draw your last breath.
When your life is purpose-driven you can say with Paul, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7). The driving force of his life was not to get to the top, not to be remembered for his exploits and achievements, but to accomplish everything that God wanted him to do.
A final thought: God doesn’t always give you a nudge, prodding you to get moving on that agenda of accomplishment. Like sand that quietly slips through the hourglass, the days of our lives fly quietly by, and whether you’ve made your first hole-in-one, or you never had time to get to the course, our days are numbered.
Resource reading: 2 Timothy 3:10-4:5