Suppose that you were going to sum up your life to this point in one brief statement of twenty-five words or less – How would you do it? What would you say?

Think about that for a moment. You have been living now for fifteen years, fifty years, seventy years, or however long it’s been. Those years have contained a combination of good and bad, success and failure, fulfillment and disappointment. Now you want to summarize them. How would you go about doing that?

Admittedly, it would not be easy to do. Clarence Darrow, the brilliant American lawyer, as he came toward the end of his life said this: “The outstanding fact which cannot be dodged by thoughtful men is the futility of it all.

In contrast to that, we have a summary statement from St. Paul in his second letter to his young friend Timothy. St. Paul was an old man and knew that his life was rapidly drawing to a close. So from his prison in Rome, he looked back across the years, and here is what he wrote: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”

What a contrast! One man looks back at life and sees only “the futility of it all.” Another man looks back and sees a good fight, a finished race, and a kept faith. If we had to choose one of those as a pattern for our summary statement, surely we would all choose the latter.

And in a very real sense we can exercise that choice. We cannot change our yesterdays; that is obvious. But we can do something about today. Someone has said, “The present is the past of our future.” Which is just a clever way of reminding us that the life we live today will be a part of the over-all life we look back on tomorrow. If we want to be proud of it then, we must do something good with it today.

Ask any doctor about a patient who has given up and lost his or her will to live. He will tell you that when that happens there isn’t much that he can do. A fighting spirit in the heart of a patient is a vital part of physical recovery; and without it even the finest doctors are rendered almost powerless.

Or ask a coach about a team that has no will to win. It may happen before a game starts, or it may happen somewhere in the middle. But whenever a team gives up, it’s all over. Most coaches will tell you that victory is roughly ten percent ability and ninety percent desire.

All of us need to apply that same principle to life. Let’s face it, life in this world is no Sunday school picnic. It’s tough, sometimes it’s almost impossible, and the person who has little or no fighting spirit is ill-prepared for living. Certainly a will to win is not the total answer, but without it none of the other answers makes very much difference. So let us each day fight the good fight, finish the race, and keep the faith!!