by Stan Mitchell
Therefore since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders, and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us” (Hebrews 12:1).
On Tuesday, July 20th, 1993, Vincent Foster, a Little Rock Lawyer and White House Counsel took his own life on a bluff overlooking the Potomac River. When President Clinton gathered his staff together to console them over the loss of their friend and colleague, he said: “It would be wrong to define a life like Vincent Foster’s in terms only of how it ended.”
He was right. All the man’s accomplishments, all his acts of kindness to friends and family, and his service for his country, but in the popular mind, he will probably always be remembered as “the guy in the Clinton Administration who committed suicide.” No matter how we try to put his end out of our minds, the manner of his life’s ending will always leave a shadow over his life.
Jesus’ life was also be defined by its end.
There is no question that his life was characterized by good deeds, and profound teachings, but for everyone who knows the name “Jesus,” whether it be a thoroughly secular person who knows few of the details, or a person who has dedicated his life completely to Jesus, it is the death that stands out. Jesus, too, will always be remembered for his death. His words made him a respected and wise teacher. His life marked him as one who actually lived out the truths he expressed.
But it was his death that marked him as the son of God.
So what was the difference between the tragedy of Mr. Foster and the victory of Jesus the Christ? What made one death a declaration of victory, and the other a lonely act of surrender?
With the deepest of respect for the former Presidential Advisor, may I suggest that Vincent Foster’s manner of going was a surrender to his circumstances, while Jesus’ death was the completion of what he had come to do, illustrated in his own words, “It is finished” (John 19:30).
The Lord had carried his task to the end. Service to God is not an Olympic sprint, a burst of nerves and adrenaline; it is a long distance run, characterized by planning, dedication, and determination.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
If you have committed your life to serving the Christ, I have three words for you: Don’t go yet.
by Stan Mitchell