Taking the Final

01 May

As I gaze out over my class, watching frantic students punch buttons on their calculator and glance furtively toward their neighbors to see how far they’ve gotten, I can’t help but think…

“I’m so glad that I don’t have to take a final exam…”

Students who have been preparing throughout the semester seem confident, but not cocky. They take their time…but, inevitably, they are the first ones to turn in their exams. They are not fearful…but they let out a sigh of relief that one more pressure point has been relieved from their lives…at least for the moment.

On the other hand, there are those who punch their calculators a bit more aggressively…those who glance toward their neighbors, perhaps not just to gauge their progress, but in hopes that they might catch a glimpse of an elusive answer that might give them the last few points they need in order to push them over the threshold from a C- to a C, the bare minimum necessary to receive credit.

These students are not confident or cocky…they are fearful.

The irony of this situation is that they have been confident-some of them even cocky-throughout the entire semester…until now. Even though it was detailed to them throughout the life of the course that their efforts were not going to accomplish their goals, they skipped class, failed to complete homework, did not seek assistance from those able to help them, and generally ignored their responsibilities to themselves and their future. And now, time is winding down at the end of the final exam, and they are unprepared.

That’s a lot like life, isn’t it?

I’m learning this now, in my 40’s. Throughout my life, I have ignored the doctor’s advice to lose weight and take care of my health. I have ignored those who have encouraged me to develop my leadership skills and public speaking ability. I have passed up chance after chance to pursue the goals that I want to achieve. I have been confident (sometimes even cocky) that I will eventually accomplish all that I have planned to accomplish.

And now, I find myself “punching the buttons” of life a bit more aggressively…glancing at those around me who have been preparing for their whole life, and hoping that I see something in them that might give me the “answer” I need to push me the last little way that I need to succeed.

Is it too late?

Just as my students should have been preparing throughout the semester, I should have been preparing throughout my life…

Why did I wait until I was in my 40’s to finally get serious about my health?

Why did I ignore the advice of the people I respected who told me that I had the relational skills to reach those in need?

Why did I waste all those years on frivolous stuff when I could have been preparing to more completely serve others?

Because I didn’t want to do the work…because I was focused on short-term satisfaction, rather than a lifetime of gratification…because I was lazy…

Just like my students.

And for my students, it is likely to late for them to bail out their grade…

But it’s not too late for me to make an impact on the world…By reaching out and serving others.

That’s what I hope to do…with my weight loss, with my speaking ability, with my relational skills…

And with this blog.

It’s not too late for you either. Are you still focused on yourself, as the world passes you by? It’s time to jump out of yourself and jump into the rest of the world…find someone who has a need…

And meet that need.

Serve others…give of yourself…use the talents and abilities that God gave you…

And give to someone else…

Because someday, we will all face the ultimate “final exam.”

And for me, I want to know that I prepared for it the best that I could.


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4 responses to “Taking the Final

  1. adifferentpace

    May 1, 2012 at 2:33 pm

    I love any kind of relational metaphor for life success. Awesome post 🙂

    • jbecker007

      May 1, 2012 at 11:09 pm

      Thanks very much! There is a metaphor for life in many of our daily interactions…sometimes, we just miss them.

  2. mary becker

    May 1, 2012 at 11:03 pm

    Jon that is so good …I wonder is it to late for me in my 70’s..It does give me lots to ponder on.

    • jbecker007

      May 9, 2012 at 12:49 pm

      It’s never too late, Mary! We can impact people until we breathe our last breath…


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