Twenty-year-old John Bisagno was engaged to be married, finishing college, and going into the ministry. His future father-in-law, Dr. Paul Beck, shared a bit of advice with John to prepare him for the challenges he’d surely face.
A minister for many years, Dr. Beck had observed countless young people going into vocational service for God. His simple yet profound words were,
“John, stay true to Jesus! Make sure you keep your heart close to Jesus every day.”
Dr. Beck found that just one in ten people who began full-time service for the Lord at age twenty-one had stayed on track until age sixty-five. Discouragement, moral failure, financial pressures, and other issues robbed them of the joy of ministry.
Shocked and incredulous, John went home and wrote in his Bible the names of twenty-four men who were his peers. Christians, walking with God, they all shared a common desire to be used by God and were trained in ministry.
John served as pastor of the First Baptist Church of Houston for many years. He stayed true to Jesus. Sadly, from time to time, he’s had to turn to that page in his Bible and mark out another name. After thirty-three years, only three of those twenty-four men had stayed true to Jesus.
Author and speaker Steve Farrar told John’s story in his book Finishing Strong. Steve wrote these words,
“In the Christian life, it’s not how you start that matters. It’s how you finish.”
Finishing strong, dear friend, means staying true to Jesus. It applies to us all. No matter who you are or what your occupation, staying true to Jesus all your life is what matters most. It means walking with Him moment by moment, every day. You do that by spending time with Him—reading His Word and talking to Him in prayer.
Stay true to Jesus. He always stays true to you. He set you free and enables you to finish strong.
“When he arrived and saw the evidence of the grace of God, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts” (Acts 11:23).
Maybe today, you’ve already lost your way. Perhaps you’re discouraged, or you’ve failed morally. You feel stuck. Dear friend, tell God right now about those defeats. Talk to Him. Entrust your heart into His hands. It’s never too late to find forgiveness and start your healing!
By Vonette Bright, My Heart in His Hands
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