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Finishing the Season Strong

When I played soccer in high school, one of our coaches always said, "Finish strong!" What he meant was, when the ball was passed across the goal and you have one short opportunity to score, that was not the time to be timid! You needed to finish the play strong to give your team the best chance to score! Lay out for the diving header, get that foot on the ball to take the shot no matter what it takes. O when the clock was running out in a close game and we were exhausted, we needed to give our best efforts and finish the game strong! Or when the season was winding down and tournaments were beginning, that's when we really needed to finish strong. Every game mattered in determining the outcome of the season. We needed wins. The only way to get them was to put our best effort on the field. But even if we lost, if we carried ourselves properly, we could be proud of finishing strong. That's why we conditioned ourselves all season to make sure we were fit and had the energy to finish each game with our best.

Seasons come and seasons go. But in each season, we have opportunities.

Listen to what the Teacher in Ecclesiastes says in chapter 3:1. "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens…" he goes on to say there are times for planting and uprooting, being born and dying, laughing and weeping, tearing down and building up, mourning and dancing, etc. God has given us wisdom to see each season as its own opportunity to glorify Him.

We're nearing the end of another season right now. It's the end of the school year for many, planting season for the farmers (and hopefully the mud season). It's even the end of the season for many of our ministries at church. It's a time marked by end of year activities, last games, final exams, graduations, report cards, and parties. But then it looks forward to another season of summer. That brings its own activities! We might look forward to vacations, opening the pool, heading to the beach, late nights outside, Jersey fresh sweet corn and tomatoes (mmmmm). I love the next season. Now, for many of us, that only means we get busier. Those whose livelihoods depend on getting as much work done in summer as possible might mean extra late nights, more hours per day and week.

At church, we have one particular opportunity in this season that can bless others in our community--the Compassion Project. The Compassion Project is a chance for us to partner with our near neighbors and offer assistance in some basic home repairs and projects while developing relationships with these neighbors. This might mean a couple busy weeks for many of us. It means lots of planning and investing our precious time. But it's a chance we have to be a blessing to others. It's a time to help, to repair, a time to relate to our neighbors in love. A time to begin new relationships. We are so blessed to have lots of committed members with practical skills and hearts for our neighbors. Although our seasons change and our priorities shift, God gives us his grace to finish up this season strong, giving our best energy to help others before we turn the page on the next season. Praise God for the gift of the Spirit to strengthen us this season and the next.

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Our denomination, the Christian Reformed Church of North America, recently gathered in our broadest assembly called Synod. At Synod, representatives from our binational (U.S. and Canada) denomination