In Paul’s final letter to the church in Timothy, he exhorted them to preach the word in season and out of season. This means preaching whether people are willing to hear and accept or not. He wanted the church to be ready to reprove, rebuke and export. This is because the time will come when people will not want to hear sound doctrine. Having itchy ears, people will go after preachers to suit their own passions. “and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths” (2 Timothy 4:4). He warned us to remain sober-minded, endure suffering and continue to do evangelism.
Paul was ready to be ‘poured our like a drink offering,’ as the time of his departure had come. Paul was in prison and he knew that the time was near for his execution. Nevertheless, Paul was ready for death and was convinced that he had done what God had called him to do. How many people can say with such confidence, that they have accomplished the mission set before them? Life and it’s many distractions, keep people from fulfilling their God given assignments. Either way, Paul’s determination was to end well. Endings are a natural part of life as much as beginnings. Many people are good at starting projects for example, but are not good finishers.
Some people are even more rubbish at ending relationships. Many people end relationships abruptly or in the midst of turmoil and difficulties. It is sensible to end relationships that have become toxic and dysfunctional. However, it is possible to end even bad relationships well. Let us consider Abram and his nephew Lot. When strife broke out between the servants of Abraham and Lot, Abram chose to separate. Despite their separation, Abram managed this well and they departed amicably. “Then Abram said to Lot, “Let there be no strife between you and me, and between your herdsmen and my herdsmen, for we are kinsmen” (Genesis 13:8).
Despite being the elder among them, Abram allowed Lot to choose the area where he wanted to settle. Abram then settled on the remaining land that was left for him. This separation could have resulted in conflict and strife, however Abram used wisdom to prevent it from escalating. There are a few things that we can learn from the separation between Lot and Abram. 1. Know when a relationship or partnership has become counter productive and consider separating to maintain peace. 2. Separation does not have to include conflict and animosity. 3. End well so as not to damage a worthwhile relationship. Remember that later on, Abram had to go to Lot’s rescue when he was captured from Sodom (Genesis 14). 4. Show gratitude for what the other person has done, while the relationship lasted.
Endings do not have to be nasty and messy and walking in the will of the Lord means that you go where you are sent. Many relationships last for a time, season and purpose and not all relationships last a lifetime. This is not the case in marriages which God has ordained to last until death. Some marriages may end due to ongoing abuse and infidelity and even in these instances, it is useful to remain amicable, especially when there are children involved. “When a man’s ways please the Lord, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him” (Proverbs 16:7).