When the Race Ends

I’ve been through another season of funerals—8 in the past 3 months.  Family, friends and business associates passed on, so I attended their memorial service or celebration of life (depending on their belief system).  This now regular event gave me ample opportunity to pause and reflect on my own destiny, something that I hope you all do on occasion.

As business leaders, we run HARD—very hard.  Most of the time we are chasing after something (a goal, project, acquisition) and many times we are being chased (confrontation, emergencies, lawsuits).  How often do you pause and assess where you are and whether you are even on the right track?

When the race ends, how will people remember you?  What will be your legacy?

Perhaps the most poignant eulogy I heard was by one pastor who was emphatic and matter-of-fact when he knocked on the beautiful wooden coffin and stated, “We will all end up here!”.  Perhaps shocking to some, yet undeniable truth that everyone must accept.

I was able to listen to the eulogies for President George H.W. Bush; many remarks were about his great accomplishments as a leader and simultaneously about some decisions that would be second-guessed and considered failures for the rest of time.  My takeaway is that we all end up with a similar fate, remembered for many successes and corresponding failures. 

Our current culture has little tolerance for failure (or any human fault for that matter) and the shame and ridicule that accompany failure can be paralyzing to many.  Fortunately, as Christians we realize and accept the imperfection of humanity and believe in redemption as a way of continuing—persevering—through life.

Unfortunately, perseverance for most of us looks like a sprint towards an unknown finish line (Luke 12:20) and then, sometimes suddenly, our race is over.  This year I witnessed how quickly that race can end, even in apparently strong and potent individuals.  The idea is that we may not have time to prepare for the finish, so start sooner rather than later.

At the end of the race we will be remembered for our character, for our values, for our propensity to take risks in business and relationships, and ultimately for the way we dealt with the consequences of taking those risks.  None of us are perfect, and that’s okay.

Jesus’ direction in Matthew 25:34-46 was clear;

“Whatever you did for the least of these brothers, you did for me”. 

We most often think of the imprisoned, the naked, and the hungry literally as the incarcerated or homeless or less fortunate whom we encounter. But consider this; how many of your employees or friends or family are imprisoned, naked or hungry by their addictions, setbacks, tragedies or lack of knowing the peace of Christ?  How will you be remembered, at the end of your race, for how you treated those who perhaps did not physically show those afflictions, but rather suffered them privately?

During this season, take some time to reflect on your race.

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”   St. Paul (2 Tim 4:7)


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Before becoming a Convene Chair, Joe gained thirty years of business experience in the construction and real estate development industries. After gaining much knowledge he started his own construction company, growing the business from a specialized subcontracting business into multiple entities.

To learn more about his coaching practice and connect with Joe, view his profile or email him: jlarussa@convenenow.com