When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. John 19:30
Unfinished is a word that describes my life. The one thing I loved about school, whether it be elementary school or medical school, is that every course, every subject had an end. But that “end” only lasted a few weeks before it all began again. Because of this fact, before I had even completed Kindergarten, I was calling myself a 1st grader. The cycle continued until I graduated from an OBGYN residency program at Bethesda Naval Hospital. But it didn’t end there either! There is always the next step, the next project, the next struggle, the next challenge, the next problem to solve and task to complete.
When I was a physician, I would leave town in an attempt to leave my responsibilities behind. But I knew every patient’s due date, every person’s surgery that had been scheduled, and every post-op patient who could develop a complication in my absence that I would need to care for upon my return. I would complete a surgery only to have 3 more to do, an office full of patients to see, and who knew what would need to be done in the wee hours of the next morning.
As a pastor, the sense of my work never being finished has only multiplied. A sermon can be written, but there are 10 more that need to be completed. A bible study is completed, but there are hopefully hundreds more to be done. There are issues that need to be discovered and solved before they become a problem that everyone sees. And then there are the problems that everyone sees that must be addressed posthaste.
Before you think I’m complaining, let me clarify further. I thrive in environments where the work is never done. I love the challenge. But it makes me realize that life is never “finished”. We never “arrive.” We can always become a better person, learn something new about ourselves or the world in which we live. We always have the potential for failure that can be turned into success. There is always another turn in the road, another circumstance to navigate, another challenge to be addressed.
And yet there is one thing in life that is finished, and that is the kingdom of God that I can have in my heart today. Without the completion of that task by Jesus on the cross, I could not handle the unfinished business of daily life. The assurance of salvation is the one thing that is absolutely for certain in life because it is “finished.” And so John wrote, “And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life.” (1 John 5:11-13)
It is this fact of life that makes all of the unfinished business in my life finished. By this I mean that because I am His child doing His work in His time, then I am complete in Him. My daily tasks do not define whether or not I am finished. I may have tasks that need to be done, but when my Jesus dwells in my heart, His finished work becomes mine. And so I can say, “It is finished!”