Caleb and Joshua were the only two spies (of the twelve) who gave a positive report to Moses about the prospects of a successful invasion into the Promised Land. Forty years later because of their faith, Caleb and Joshua were the only ones allowed to enter the land. In Joshua 14, at 85 years old, Caleb still had a clear vision, an incredible passion and was ready to take action. He exclaimed, "I want this hill!" He is an example of a strong finisher-one who continued to trust and believe in God enduring to the end.
In 1968, the country of Tanzania selected John Stephen Akhwari to represent it in the Mexico City Olympics. Along the race course for the marathon, Akhwari stumbled and fell, severely injuring his knee and ankle. By 7:00 p.m., a runner from Ethiopia had won the race, and all other competitors had finished and been cared for. Just a few thousand spectators were left in the huge stadium when a police siren at the gate caught their attention. Limping through the gate came Akhwari, his leg wrapped in a bloody bandage. Those present began to cheer as the courageous man completed the final lap of the race. Later, a reporter asked Akhwari the question on everyone's mind: "Why did you continue the race after you were so badly injured?" He replied: "My country did not send me 7,000 miles to begin a race; they sent me to finish the race."
May that be our motto as believers in Christ. Not to just start the Christian race but to endure to the end. The Bible is littered with examples of men and women who didn't finish strong like Caleb. In fact, in a study done by Bobby Clinton from Fuller Seminary, he discovered that only 12 of the 49 most recognizable people in the Bible were strong finishers, maintaining a personal vibrant relationship with God right up to the end. May we be people of endurance, finishing strong right to the end of our lives.
The above noted character quality is an excerpt from Rod Handley's latest book, "Character Counts For Quiet Time and Small Groups" (Volume 1).In addition to sixteen different character qualities, you get a number of Scripture references and appropriate small group discussion questions. This book is perfect for any age, giving helps on how to live out the Christian life. It's retail price is $6.95. Additional character qualities will be put into future volumes.