Finishing Life Fruitfully for Jesus
And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ.
-Luke 2:25-26, emphasis added
Malachi ends with the promise of Elijah who would turn the hearts of the people back to God. We now know that John the Baptist was that Elijah (Luke 1:15-17). Therefore, Dr. Luke, whose writings actually begin the New Testament chronologically, records the bridge to the Old Testament by taking us first to the angel Gabriel's appearance to John's father, Zacharias, as he served in the temple. Zacharias means "God remembers" and Elizabeth (John's mother) means "His oath," so together their names mean "God remembers His oath." Zacharias and Elizabeth are models of how to go on in spite of what others might call extraordinary challenges. (Week 51 will cover a more in-depth look at this godly couple.)
Now let us look at two exemplary saints who came out of dark days: Simeon and Anna. They give us one of the clearest examples of how to finish life fruitfully for Jesus.
Simeon was filled with the Spirit. He was Spirit-filled and Spirit-led-a just and devout man who patiently waited for the "Consolation of Israel" because God had promised that he would not die before he had seen the Lord's Christ (Luke 2:25-26). He was Spirit-led, having come to the temple at the precise time Jesus' parents brought Him to fulfill "the custom of the law" (Luke 2:27). Simeon was then Spirit-satisfied: he took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said: "Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, according to Your word" (Luke 2:28-29).
Anna faithfully waited and worshiped. She, too, finished life fruitfully for Jesus. What do we see in her rare life as a prophetess? She lived out the scriptural pattern for ending life pleasing to God.
What guide did Simeon and Anna follow? These two notable lives were the result of believing and following God's Word. Psalms 92:12-15 is a passage they both knew well, and lived: The righteous shall flourish. . . . Those who are planted in the house of the Lord . . . shall still bear fruit in old age; they shall be fresh and flourishing. To declare that the Lord is upright; He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.
Make a choice to live in hope: Simeon and Anna modeled how to finish life fruitfully for Jesus because they lived a life that counted. A fruitful life that pleases God is a chosen path. What pathway are you choosing to live?
I pray that you will decide to let God overflow your life with His grace. Affirm the goodness of God, for He is upright; He is our Rock; He is good! Make the goodness of the Lord your lifelong testimony and you will possess living hope for the end of days.
Remember, what we are going to wear in eternity is what we wore on earth: Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament, and those who turn many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever (Daniel 12:3).
It is not the length of time we serve that matters most, but the depth of our passion for Him as we finish our race. Plan now how you want to end the race.
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