It’s Not How You Start . . .

It’s how you finish.

I can’t imagine how Saul, the king of Israel, felt.

Saul began his reign as king of Israel with the highest possible expectations.

Saul had the “it” factor. He simply looked like a king. In fact, that’s what the word of God says. He stood head and shoulders above anyone else in Israel. When people looked at Saul, they thought of a king.

Early in his reign, Saul seemed to have good leadership qualities. When the Philistines attacked, Saul left working in the field to lead the Israelites in battle. He defeated the Philistines, and the people rejoiced.

The people of Israel were ecstatic at the leadership of Saul.

What in the world happened? Saul wound up in the home of a medium desperately seeking guidance. Not long after as he fought the Philistines, he took his own life.

How do you go from such a fast and effective start to such a sad finish?

Saul suffered what many, many powerful people have suffered.

Saul saw himself as the reason for his power and status among the people of Israel. Like many talented athletes, Saul forgot that he had been given a gift from God to use for God.

Saul seemed to think he deserved all the good things that happened to him. One of the things that you don’t find in the life of Saul is any word of gratitude or appreciation to God or anyone else.

David, on the other hand, constantly showed appreciation to his soldiers and other people for their loyalty and faithfulness.

As you read through 1-2 Samuel you get the idea that David’s mighty men would have done anything for him. In fact, late in 2 Samuel David longed for a drink of water from the well it Bethlehem. His desire caused three of his mighty man to fight their way through enemy lines to simply get David a drink of water. When they returned, David refused to drink the water. Instead he poured it out as an offering to God in appreciation for the valor of his soldiers.

Is it any wonder that Saul became weaker and David became stronger?

David, of course, did not live a perfect life, but he did live a life of appreciation to God and appreciation to others. Because of the way he thought of God and the way he thought of other people, David finished with the adoration of the people around him while Saul finished in disgrace.

One day, you will finish. How will you finish?

It’s time, no matter how old you are, to think about what’s going to happen in the future. You can finish well if you live well before God today.

I would like to send you my daily devotionals. They are completely free. Simply subscribe at to receive my devotional in your inbox each morning.




  1. Randy Boyett
    Nov 12, 2014

    Amen to finishing well. Perseverance, endurance, and happiness at the thought of serving the Lord are the qualities I want most to appropriate at the point in my life. The finish line doesn’t seem very far away now with the passing of each new day. May we all finish well.

    Dr. Bailey thank you for blessing us all with your daily encouragement.

    • Waylon
      Nov 12, 2014

      Thanks, Randy. And thanks for your faithful ministry.

Leave a Reply

Subscribe To Waylon’s Blog

About Waylon

I am the senior pastor of First Baptist Church, Covington, Louisiana, a position that I have held since 1989.

Read More

Recent Tweets

    No public Twitter messages.

Verse of the Day

But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. — Galatians 4:4-5 (NIV)