Have you noticed how some buildings that were started never got finished? On the outskirts of Natchez Mississippi deep in the woods stands an unfinished mansion. The building began to be constructed in 1860. The beautiful octagon structure with a Byzantine-Moorish dome was to have 32 rooms. Cotton magnate Haller Nutt and his wife Julia were anticipating finishing their home when the Civil War broke out. The Philadelphia construction team working on the house dropped their tools to go back up north and take up weapons. Mr. Nutt never did finish his home and died in the basement of his unfinished mansion in 1864. The official cause of death was pneumonia but the legend says he died of a broken heart.
It is sad to see a building unfinished but it is tragic to have a life that is unfinished. Some who began with a solid pace of following Christ have sadly slowed down. Perhaps they have even ended up sidetracked in the ditch of sin. Maybe they have allowed some harsh criticism or tragic circumstance to get them off track. The testimony of Paul should be a challenge to all of us to finish the race of the Christian life strong. He speaks to us in 2 Tim. 4:6,7: “For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith”. Paul defended the faith with passion. He was always engaged in getting out the message of the gospel. And he could testify that he finished his personal journey of faith strong. Jesus Christ paid in full for our salvation and gave us assurance of heaven. Nothing can take that away from a true believer. But Paul tells us that a crown of righteousness also awaited him after he finished his race. We too can enjoy the rewards of a faithful finish.
Visitors who tour the unfinished mansion in Mississippi wonder what might have been. Don’t settle for a might have been race. Finish strong!
Pastor Stultz has been writing this weekly devotional for many years. In 2009, he published a compilation of devotionals in book form, also called Moments of Meditation