Finish Strong

Today at church Pastor James brought up a very good point, the way that one finishes is much more important than the way one starts. He pointed out the lives of two people who a few years ago were both thought of as great but the way that they finished showed that one  was false greatness while one was truly great.

Almost every American and many others around the world know the stories of two Williams. The first

one was born in Philadelphia in 1937. He served in the US Navy and then went to college before becoming a comedian. Eventually he made it to T.V. He earned Emmys, Grammys, Golden Globes, Presidential Medals and 15 honorary doctorates. But then the wall came crashing down. Bill Cosby will not be remembered as a great man but as a sexual predator.

US comedian Bill Cosby leaves December 30, 2015 the Court House in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania after arraignment on charges of aggravated indecent assault. Cosby was arraigned over an incident that took place in 2004 — the first criminal charge filed against the actor after dozens of women claimed abuse.AFP PHOTO/KENA BETANCUR / AFP / KENA BETANCUR (Photo credit should read KENA BETANCUR/AFP/Getty Images)

The second one was born in North Carolina in 1918. After high school he went to Bible college and then got a degree in anthropology.  He became a pastor for a short while of a small church before becoming an evangelist. During his life he spoke in 185 countries on 6 continents, was a leader in the Civil Rights Movement in the US and Apartheid in South Africa, spiritual advisor to every President from Wilson to Obama and spoke his message to BILLIONS around the world. It is estimated that he spoke to over 2.5 billion worldwide in one single broadcast in 1996.  He also received many honorary degrees and awards from the United States such as the Presidential Medal of Honor, was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II, as well as medals from many other countries. On February 28 and March 1, 2018, Billy Graham became the fourth private citizen in United States history to lie in honor at the United States Capitol rotunda in Washington, D.C. One William was a finisher, the other was not.

Rev. Billy Graham

Which brings us to weight issues. Almost any lesson learned about life can be carried over but for today let’s talk about finishing. Like most people that deal with weight problems I had started to diet more times than I can remember. Almost always I was successful for a short period of time but then I would stumble and fall. I was following the Bill Cosby path. I would try hard, start in the right direction and do enough that everyone could see what I was doing and comment on it. But eventually I would cheat.

The thing about the cheating is it was hurting me but I would hide it at first from everyone so they would continue to say things about me so I would feel good. In the end the truth came out, the weight would start to trickle then rush back on.

When I decided to try again a few years ago I had a different mindset. It wasn’t about looks, it was about survival. If I didn’t do something I couldn’t do my job, I knew that I was rushing head long into an early grave. I had to change. After the weight started rolling off I started running but it is still not easy, I still struggle and fall. The difference is I’m on the Billy Graham plan now. I know the way isn’t easy, I know I will have to fight this for the rest of my life. But I am going to finish strong! I want to be able to quote the book that Dr. Graham followed his whole life, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” Thank you Pastor James for reminding me of the importance of that passage.